A great passion of mine is the evocative use of language to inform Yoga movement and rest practices. A teacher’s use of words has the power to evoke embodied experiences that can be transformational for students.
The use of evocative language in yoga taps into the sensorial body: tasting, touching, feeling, sensing and seeing. Creative language used to innervate movement principles, concepts and anatomy means that a student’s yoga practice emerges from a deep and growing understanding of their bodily world.
Over the early years of teaching yoga I am often asked by students “Am I doing this right?”
I began to question what defined “right Yoga” and then in contrast what defined “wrong Yoga”. I feel it speaks to an ingrained cultural trajectory that values getting better or improving oneself – as if there is something at the beginning that even needs improving.
This self-improvement idea translates into Yoga practice as ‘better’ or ‘good’ by being defined by how complex or bendy one can be and is often accompanied by what one looks like while preforming Yoga postures.
In this interview, Karla Brodie and Neal Ghoshal share their passion for Restorative Yoga with their fellow teacher and our Contemporary Yoga administrator, Sandy Farquhar.
Neal: In essence, Restorative Yoga is a well-being practice. Of course all Yoga may be about well-being. Restorative Yoga is distinguished by the conscious use of props such as Yoga bolsters, blankets, blocks and more, to support the physical body.
I LOVE music. I am constantly astonished by music. By the endless creativity of musicians to produce beautiful, moving, wild rhythms, melody and harmony. I could never imagine life without it. What a blessing music is in our lives!
Yoga is my other love. I regularly join the two together in my own practice and in my classes you will often hear me playing music to support the Yoga. Sometimes I may even bring my guitar and play live for people.
Erich Schiffmann teaches what he calls Freedom Yoga – the freedom to teach and practice any style of Yoga he likes! His approach is about tuning in, listening to guidance from within, the inner teacher, and then doing as is prompted.
This encourages and empowers the student to listen and respond to their own body and movement, to practice in a way which respects their body, and how they find themselves at the beginning of each practice.
We’re gearing up for playing more with video – it’s a great medium for showing movement as opposed to a static photo of a posture. There is so much that may be explored in the transitions between postures, in how we flow, in how we move.
Yoga practice for me is about surrender, presence and an ‘everything is as it is’ approach. Surrendering any idea that we have to go somewhere, achieve something or reach any point of perfection in our practice can be very liberating. The ‘practice of surrender’ in yoga may then support living life with a renewed sense of ease and flow.
In Restorative Yoga we use props such as blankets, bolsters, chairs, sandbags, eye bags and more to support us in our practice. We spend time and care setting up these props so that when we practice they support us fully and we may profoundly relax.