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Anusara Intrigue

Well tonight I went to another yoga class, same studio, different teacher. I had not been to this teacher before and she immediately checked me for all the same pet peeves that the other teachers from this school focus on. Are my knees hyperextended? I made sure that they were not. Are my hips level? Yes they are. I passed the first 10 tests or so before we made it to the crux of the matter. At TYE I was taught to use the rhomboids to pull the shoulder blades onto the back to toward each other in the middle of the back. At Amrita the staff is in rebellion against John Friend regarding this teaching, and they are not teaching it. Rather than saying "melt your heart" they say to keep your back "broad" and not allow the pinching between the shoulderblades. Tonight I had a social work nurse and a physical therapist, both yoga teachers, try to authoritize me into believing that they way is right. I don't believe anything just because somebody said so! And I told them this. I tried to open the conversation about the anatomy involved. The main teacher of the class said that she thinks Americans overuse their rhomboids and in such is the essence of our postural problems. I so disagree with her. We did this partner stretch that involved having one person hold another person's wrists behind their backs and lean forward to open the chest. I was instructed to do this without my shoulderblades coming together. When I resisted the stretch and exerted my pecs to hold my shoulders forward, she was satisfied. When I allowed the pose to open my heart, my shoulderblades were too close and she was dissatisfied. I am so far not impressed with the level of awareness of this school. There is too much pedantry, too much authoritarian zeal. I will do what I choose based on what I decide based on the assimilation of teachings, studies and body knowledge. This is my yoga. One rebel school can disagree with one brand new master about the ultimate truth, and I will synthesize my own truth.


Dec. 13th, 2007 12:50 am (UTC)
broadening the back
I can understand your frustration at what seemed to have been expressed as zeal and dogma. I too have been in yoga classes and felt like I wasn't being given a chance to find what was true for my body. Given that, consider that you might not need to use your pecs to broaden the back. There are other ways to melt the heart and still keep an openness in the back of the heart that are incredibly powerful and enhance so many other asanas as well as breath capacity. I hope you do try this. It doesn't inherently contradict Anusara or the importance of keeping the shoulderblades firmly and fearlessly on the back.

Dec. 13th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
firmly and fearlessly
Well said. I am sure that I will learn something from the attempt to balance a new instruction with an old one, and the gradual increase in my own awareness that comes with practice. Even though I do not understand all the teachings I receive, I do try all of them. Some are assimilated years after the first teaching.



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