Stuck in Our Routines

Buddha – by tattoo artist Alex Passapera

We can become stuck in our routines. Yes, routines are good to reinforce good habits, but sometimes we need to add perspective. I’m thankful for this opportunity. This summer, in addition to teaching yoga and taking classes with my favorite local teachers, I’m adding new experiences– one new studio per week. It is a powerful pleasure to arrive in another yoga environment, to observe their ambiance, to meet new people and practice yoga together. Here is what I’ve observed so far:

  • I don’t like crowded spaces. If there’s no room for me to swan dive, lift a leg, twist, put my things down, etc. I’m not happy.
  • A little air conditioning is nice. Too hot or too cold is a distraction. I prefer 75 – 80 F.
  • It is motivating when a teacher compliments my posture and a bonus if they use my name to do it. It is distracting if a teacher stops the class to look at my posture.
  • Some music irritates me while other music motivates me. I dislike loud music. I become bored if there’s no music.
  • I prefer to warm up my wrists, ankles, shoulders and muscles before practicing full-on postures and variations.
  • I like to sing. I enjoy it when teachers include mantra chants like AUM.
  • I prefer natural sunlight or warm ambient light. I dislike a grey, dark studio.
  • I like when teachers use instruments– symphonic gong, singing bowls, chimes, etc.
  • I like it when teachers include breathing practices and meditation.
  • I prefer teachers that let me close my eyes and modify my practice as needed. I appreciate that I can skip cues that feel unsafe to me and that my education guides me on this. I become irritated if forced to do otherwise.
  • Sometimes I want hands-on adjustments. Sometimes I don’t. Not all adjustments feel good and some make it hard for me to breathe. I appreciate teachers who request instant feedback and ask permission to touch. It’s better if I can see the teacher approaching, or at least feel a light touch before they go deeper so I don’t get startled.
  • I prefer some quiet time in between cues and story telling.
  • I prefer when the teacher is observing our practice rather than doing the practice far away on their own.
  • If a fellow practitioner is practicing bad form, I feel distracted hoping the teacher comes over to help them.
  • Some teachers mix up or mispronounce Sanskrit, which is a distraction. I assume most students don’t know Sanskrit, so it doesn’t matter. I appreciate hearing postures named in both English and Sanskrit.
  • If a teacher forgets to do a posture or sequence on both sides, I feel imbalanced. The more it happens, the more imbalanced I feel.
  • I prefer sequences that alternate sides often enough so as not to overload our joints.
  • I love when a teacher provides options for making a pose easier or more challenging and gives me enough time to take that challenging pose before moving on.
  • I notice that students want permission to rest or modify. When others see me rest, use a block/strap, or bring my knees down, they feel permission to do the same.
  • I prefer a class that begins and ends on time.
  • I enjoy a full length savasana (final relaxation pose).
  • I love a studio that provides a receptionist. It’s a distraction if the teacher has to check in students, take money, do retail, set up for class and deal with people who enter the studio during a class.
  • I love it when a teacher introduces themselves and chats with me before class, especially to ask about my experience, injuries or medical conditions.

I will continue to explore new yoga experiences. It makes me a better yoga student and teacher. What are your observations in yoga? What do you want your teachers to know? Namaste.