Stretching Myself

I thought I would be stretching my students, apparently that is not the case.

Last month as my band of merry yogis were getting used to the same routine (again – it’s hard NOT to fall into a routine) I asked the class what they would like to see in future classes. They had suggestions, many suggestions. And I am thankful. At first I was surprised, but now I am grateful for these suggestions. Their ideas have given me a basis to craft my own practice and the practice I bring to class.

They asked for “something for my shoulders”. And they asked for “Core work, I want to work my core.” Nobody asked for breathing exercises and nobody asked for hip openers. Well poo, those are my favorites. Apparently my band of yogis feel they are getting enough, or maybe they haven’t considered how good they feel about their practice when we spend our time breathing and opening our hips. Maybe I have a stronger bias than I thought.

Nevertheless, I was listening; and I pulled out some books and some notes and some videos to see what I could see about shoulders and the entire shoulder girdle. I have been introduced to a new vocabulary – “feel the opening of your collar bones”, “glide your shoulder blades, feeling their movement within your back.” Just some cool phrases. I don’t particularly feel “lift your chest” is always necessary. Now I have additional cues.

Thing is that my band of merry yogis and I only get together for an hour on a Friday at lunch, my objective is not to “work” an area. I don’t want anyone waking up on Saturday morning with knots and painful areas that we “worked”. I want everyone to feel looser or more comfortable in their own skin. My objective has always been to stretch it out and be mentally, as well as physically, away from our desks. Do these yogis want a workout? Is that really yoga?

So, back to the books and the videos…There are some great shoulder girdle moments available. I think Shoulder Alignment is a grand idea. There are movements available to relax and self-massage the shoulder blades that only a bear and a tree can find. And my merry band of yogis seemed pretty pleased with the practise last Friday.  There were quite a few newer movements for them, so we took it slow.  And the repetitions looked wonderful on my students.

Did we “work out” our shoulders? Why no, we did not. I lead the group through awareness of collar bones and shoulder sockets and shoulder blades. We did a lot of supported shoulder blade motion. Read: floor postures.

My favorite video while I researched shoulder work is here. Ms. Olga is rather soft spoken, but the intent is lovely.

Shoulder Girdle practise – I’m calling it triumphant.

I’m still working on presenting a solid “Core” class.  Nobody, but nobody, is to go home with a strained lower back.  I’ve been working out some flow, trying to change up alignment and strength.  I don’t know…it seems it is my practise is receiving the stretch in this exercise.  This is a good thing.

I’ll let ya’ know how this goes.

In the meantime, I’m just going to Continue2breathe.

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