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What to expect? A help or a hindrance.

Hello curious person

 

This is, of sorts, a follow-up to my most recent blog called “Wellness, health and their intention” that links a little more directly with yoga. It’s about some of the information that is given to individuals around different approaches to yoga.

 

I do want to preface this post with a clear message that this is simply my thoughts, and, through my blog, I am trying to understand my stance whilst also sharing it with you.

 

A lot of yoga teachers will tell people about what you can expect from a certain type of yoga. I think this is great because it manages expectations - something I’ve had to work really hard with when it comes to Yoga Nidra as it’s a non-moving practice. However, my uncertainty rests with when people are told specifically how they may feel. I’m unsure whether it's conducive to enabling a person to live their experience that will be unique. (I’ve spoken about this in another blog on Yoga Nidra called “Are you looking for examples of Sankalpa?”.)

 

I often see/hear yoga teachers talking about releasing trauma and/or emotions through yoga. That you may become overwhelmed to tears and upset and that’s okay. Like I said, I’m still uncertain here because, similar to my previous thought, it’s great to manage expectations. However, the part I struggle with is when the yoga teacher seems satisfied when that person does cry or release their emotions. It’s like they’ve achieved their goal. This is the part where I struggle to understand.

 

The first part is that I wouldn’t want anyone to associate a yoga practice with coming away inconsolably trying to deal with this uprise of emotions on their own. I’m glad that person has felt what they felt but each practice can present something different. I think this is so important for people to understand that each session will be different. I’m uncomfortable when a teacher seems attached to a big, emotional result. It feels like they’re trying to undertake a role that they have not been trained for. Remember that most yoga teachers are trained to teach yoga and they’re not mental health professionals or health care providers.

 

The second part is a little more complicated for me to explain but I’m going to try my best. I suppose the best comparison I can muster is magic cream with a child. You apply the magic cream, and everything gets better - you tell them it will soothe their pain, therefore they’re soothed; they then become accustomed to feeling between when the magic cream is applied. Is this the same with telling people how they’re going to feel? The saying “I think, therefore I am” pops to mind with this. If you tell someone they’re going to feel vulnerable, are they going to end up feeling vulnerable? If you tell someone they’re going to feel joy, are they going to feel joy? (It might be worth having a read of my sankalpa examples post). I can’t help but feel that this over-explanation in the preparation ends up manifesting these results and removes all emotional autonomy away from the individual. Just like magic cream with a child, I wouldn’t want an individual to begin to become accustomed to feeling a certain way when each practice will be completely, and wonderfully, unique.

 

I’m sure you can tell that I’ve spent a lot of time considering these aspects because I deliver regular Yoga Nidra sessions. I also see this type of language/approach in other slower practices like Yin and Restorative. I’ve always been particularly cautious around my words with Yoga Nidra because I just want people to receive whatever they need from the practice and if that is an emotional release then so be it. I thank this caution to the fantastic training that I attended that influenced all my teaching.

 

What are your thoughts and experiences with this? Have you seen any of this in action in classes and events you’ve attended?

 

I suppose what I’m trying to decipher is where this is a help or a hindrance for you.

 

Once again, thanks for sticking with me!

 

Sam



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