Why do you demonstrate on your less than perfect side?

Over the last few years I have demonstrated an asana or two in class, (in particular standing postures or twists) on my less than open side.  For example, I’ll demonstrate Ardha Chandrasana, and discuss where my body needs to move in the pose.  Then I’ll move to the wall to show how the wall helps connect the mind to the body bringing awareness and understanding of how the body needs to work in the pose.    This has prompted comments from some teachers.  Most interestingly, “Why would you show imperfect poses to your students?”

As teachers we are tempted to demonstrate poses on the side that comes easiest to us.  However if we continue to demonstrate poses on the same side, over and over again, in time we will create or increase imbalances in our own bodies.

Many teachers have students volunteer to demonstrate poses.   This is ideal.  You can have students of varying levels of ability demonstrating variations of the pose.  I do this in class on occasion.  However,  I find that most students do not want to be the center of attention in class.

Additionally, I have had students say: “Oh you can do anything”, “Your practice is perfect”, “Everything comes easily for you and I’ll never be able to do that.”   I want students to understand that no one is perfect.  We all have things we need to work on and strive toward in our practice and in our daily lives.  We are, and should be, in a continuous dance of evolution and involution.

Pattabhi Jois said it best:  “Yoga is an internal practice. The rest is just a circus.”

About EssentialYoga Studio

Roberta has been practicing yoga since 1988 and has been teaching yoga since 1994. She has trained under master yoga teachers Swami Padmananda, Patricia Walden, Manouso Manos, Father Joe Pereira, Zoë Stewart, Karin Stephan, Liz Owen and others. She continues to study with her Iyengar teachers, Patricia Walden and Peentz Dubble. Roberta has studied yoga at the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Memorial Institute in Pune, India during June 2011, February 2014 and attended Abhijata's intensive in Pune, India December 2016. Roberta is currently enrolled in Peentz Dubble's two year Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training Program. Additionally, Roberta completed training and certification with Elise Browning Miller as 'Yoga for Scoliosis' instructor. She completed a 500 hour Hatha Yoga Certification program with AURA Wellness Center and is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500. She has been a Certified Meditation Teacher since June 2007 and has been an Usui Reiki Practitioner since 1989. Roberta's Personal Practice Philosophy: Health issues have changed and deepened my practice. You will see many photos of me using a variety of props. On days I don't feel well, instead of saying, "I can't practice today", Iyengar Yoga has taught me to say, "How can I practice today".
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