It's time for another round of "Youthful Yogis Q & A"!!!
...you heard that right, Youthful Yogis, it's time for another round of "Youthful Yogis Q & A", also known as: "There are a bunch of things I really don't understand and can you just please explain stuff to me so that I know what's going on in yoga class?"
|"I have questions!!!"
As you may remember, our "Q & A" sessions work like this: I'll share with you some frequently asked yoga-related questions. See if you can answer each question on your own; afterwards, I'll share my responses with you and we can find out if our ideas match.
Let's get started!
1) Question: "Sometimes I really feel like standing on my head. Is it OK to do this while the teacher is showing the class another pose...like Tree Pose, for example?"
2) Question: "Why can't I talk with my friends during yoga class?"
3) Question: "I stubbed my toe in gymnastics and it's still a little sore. Do I have to do every single pose that the teacher is showing today...even if it kind-of-sort-of-hurts?"
4) Question: "Come to think of it, I have a lot of stuff going on right now: there's my sore toe, my loose tooth, the fingernail I cut too short, my haircut which I hate and the second helping of chocolate pudding that I scarfed down at lunchtime...I think I should fill my yoga teacher in on all of this, don't you?"
|"This is something I know my yoga teacher wants to see!"
1) Headstand when the teacher is instructing Tree Pose: I have to admit, this first question almost makes me want to run out of the room screaming....
Seriously, Youthful Yogis, it is important to listen to your instructor in a yoga class. Teachers spend a lot of time thinking about something called "sequencing"....that's a word that means the order, or sequence, of poses that we practice.
Tree Pose and Headstand are very different poses...take a look:
Most yoga instructors offer gentle poses to warm up with and save super challenging postures for the middle or later part of a practice. You would never start a class with headstand! Headstand is definitely challenging and some people should not do it at all. If you have had eye surgery or neck pain, for example, you would definitely skip turning yourself upside down.
So, to answer your question...you should not practice headstand if your teacher is showing the class how to do Tree Pose! It's not safe, it will make your instructor uncomfortable, and the rest of the class will think you have wax in your ears and can't hear well!
Now that we have that out of the way, let's move on...
2) Talking with friends during class: This question is a little bit like the one I just answered in that both have to do with listening...did you hear what I just said?!
As it turns out, listening is very important in yoga. First of all, you need to listen in order to understand the teacher's instructions.
|"I'm pretty sure the teacher said to put my hands over my head...if not, I'll feel a little funny!"
Secondly, you need to listen in order to know what your own body is telling you. The idea that our bodies might have something to say is kind of strange...but it's true! Our bodies let us know if we are tired, off balance, full of energy etc. But we have to pay attention in order to hear this information and that's hard to do if we are busy talking!
Practicing yoga is all about paying attention: "tuning in" so that we become more self-aware, both on and off of our yoga mats.
|"I am so tuning in right now...can you tell?!"
Finally, people do yoga to quiet their minds and to relax their bodies. It may feel relaxing for one person to chatter with their friends, but I can tell you that someone else's chatter is not relaxing to other people!
Please, Youthful Yogis, find time to talk with your friends before or after yoga class. If you are having fun doing yoga at home with a friend, it's definitely OK to talk. But when you are in a group, it's important to take other people into consideration!
3) Yoga with a sore toe: You should never do a yoga pose if it hurts! If you have a serious injury, it's best to take a break from yoga class all together: try doing some relaxing stretches and calming work with the breath at home instead.
If you have some minor discomfort, it's usually Ok to participate in a class...you might like to tell the teacher what's up so he or she can offer suggestions: with a stubbed toe, for example, you might skip certain poses that involve curling your toes under, like the two I'm showing here:
|"I am so totally happy that my toes don't hurt!"
4) Loose teeth, bad haircuts and what you ate for dessert: Please don't take this personally, Youthful Yogis, but yoga teachers usually do not have time to hear about every little thing that is happening to every single person in their class! If you plan on skipping certain poses due to a minor injury (like the stubbed toe situation mentioned above), it's good to let the teacher know. But honestly...fingernails, full stomachs and bad haircuts may be more information than your teacher can handle!
|"Can I still do yoga with a haircut that looks like this?!"
That concludes today's session of "Youthful Yogis Q & A"....how'd you do?
There's lots more to talk about, and maybe some of today's information has even raised new questions in your brain....
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I'll enjoy hearing from you and will try to get your questions answered in our next session of "Youthful Yogis Q & A".
Have a great week, Youthful Yogis. Try not to eat too much chocolate pudding at one sitting and don't worry if you get a weird haircut...it'll always grow back!
|"Truthfully, I just asked for a little to be taken off the sides!"
See you again soon,