Why does yoga class feel so good?

During a recent visit to the hairdresser the lady next to me was lamenting that she can never get her hair to look the same as when the hairdresser does it, and she was asking if a particular type of tong would give her the look she was after. (Stick with me here, I promise there is a yoga point to this story!)…

The reply came back that, no,this product would not achieve the same look. To do that she would need to wash, cut and dry her hair exactly as her stylist had, using the same products and tools, employing the same techniques to style and finish, all of which of course can only be done if she’d had the same training and experience.

This got me thinking about yoga. Students often tell me that they get the best night’s sleep after class, or that the yoga we do in class feels somehow much more beneficial than home practice. I also get asked what is the benefit to coming to a class, when practice can so easily be done at home now using an on-line studio. My answer is pretty much the same as the hairstylist gave – it’s the all in the training I’ve undertaken, my decades of home practice and my teaching experience (this is the same for all our Inside Out tutors). Let me explain a bit more.

For each class Inside Out instructors create a session with that particular group of students in mind, taking into considerations their ability, experience, needs and preferences. This is one of the reasons we ask you tell us what you want to get out of your Dru Yoga experience so that we can plan to help you. We never operate a “one size fits all” policy to our lesson plans. There might be a theme running through all our sessions, and perhaps elements repeated, but every class is different. The pace, the build up, what modifications or progressions we choose to use, even the choice of energy block release sequence and relaxation will be specific to each class. We include all the essentials of a yoga practice and in a particular order (it’s tempting to miss something out at home, which will effect your overall experience) plus we keep an eye on you to make sure you are safe, and practising optimumly.

Not only that, because we write our own lessons we can easily change our plans responding to the requests of students or because we sense someone needs to practice something different. Sometimes I do teach a class exactly as I planned it. More often though I adjust as I respond to the flow and energy of the class. Occasionally I teach a completely different plan to what I had intended! I do this by drawing on many years of experience of picking up on what is needed, and adapt and change as necessary, something you are not going to get from a DVD. It is a skill you can learn to do yourself for your home practice, but you need a certain level of yoga and self knowledge to know what to change, why, how and what to.

The other big factor affecting your experience of a yoga class is energy – your own, that of your fellow students and your tutors. I usually start my classes with some quiet time, this is when I start to get a feel for the energy of the group. Do I need to lift the energy or contain it? Am I picking up any “spikey”, irritated or sad energy? Trust me on this – we yogis pick up on this stuff! Your teacher then works hard to balance or raise the energy of the room. I appreciate that this might sound a bit out there, but it is a key reason you leave class feeling better than when you came in. A teacher who keeps up with their own practice will naturally have built up a level of calm and stability that then ripples out, so you are not only changing your own energy, you are also feeling the positive change in everyone’s energy, and even more if you are in a room used a lot for yoga. It’s hard to achieve such a quick shift in your vibrational energy alone.

Just like the hairdresser creates perfectly coiffeured hair, I am calling on my training, personal practice and experience to create the right atmosphere for you to get the most out of your yoga. Whilst it’s great to practice at home, and I whole heartedly encourage you to do so, there’s no substitute for a class!

Do you let me know your thoughts on this subject. I’d love to hear. Ix

Preparing for Warrior

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