Monthly Archives: January 2010

Are You Making These Mistakes in Yoga?

It’s Peggy here, with a quick question for you:

Can you guess the #1 mistake most people make when it comes to practicing yoga?

…not executing the pose correctly?

…not breathing consciously?

…not paying attention while in the poses?

Well — those are some of the common mistakes, but the #1 Mistake I see most students make is: pushing themselves too hard!

That’s right!

Too many people try to use their yoga practice as their main “workout”, and in an attempt to do so, they tend to put all of the emphasis on the physical part of the practice.

What most people forget is that yoga is actually an awakening of ALL aspects of your being — the physical as well as the mental, emotional and spiritual energies!

In yoga, you have the opportunity to integrate and balance every aspect of your being.

Some of us are typically more centered in our mental self, with most of our energy being spent on problem-solving, to-do lists, figuring things out, taking care of business, etc. These folks typically “get things done” and expect a lot from themselves and from others. Sometimes these folks will ignore the physical need for exercise and rest and will ignore the emotional need for comfort and closeness.

Others are centered mainly in the physical self, with energy focused on various aches and pains, or the realities of aging, or the on-going attainment of physical perfection at all costs, even when the body needs rest and repair.

Others still are focused on the emotional self, with energy being used to take care of emotional hurts, regrets, fears, worries, etc. On the positive side, some folks who are centered in the emotional self are also able to easily express love, joy, hope and gratitude.

Folks who are awakened to their spiritual self feel comfortable opening their hearts to the mysteries and miracles of life, dreaming big and living life from a place of passion and peace. But, if taken to the extreme, these uber-spiritual beings might be disconnected from the day-to-day realities and responsibilities like getting the oil changed in the car, paying bills on time, and understanding the material struggles the less-enlightened of us may be facing.

Don’t worry — there’s no one right or wrong way to be — but recognizing where you may currently be is valuable information so you can use your yoga practice to allow each of these aspects of your being to manifest, be present and have a voice. They are all a part of you, whether you realize it or not, and when you can balance, integrate and harmonize those energies, you’ll come closer to living a full expression of your life!

So, to get the most out of your yoga practice, work in a way that brings you closer to balance. One day, it might be that you need more of a physical practice because you’ve been sitting at your desk, working on problem solving all day.

But on another day, you might be physically worn out from an extended surf session, and you need your yoga for relaxing and rejuvenation.

Or, you might find yourself in an emotionally-charged setting and you need your yoga to erase stress and bring a sense of calm and peace.

So the next time you’re getting ready to do your yoga, think about what it is you really need, and open yourself to that experience!

Remember: yoga is not about executing a perfect pose — yoga is about experiencing yourself in the pose, fully alive, fully alert, fully present! Only then do you get the maximum benefit from the practice.

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Can You Really Learn Yoga from a DVD?

I just received this question from a surfer
who’s been following the free yoga surf stretches:

Can you really learn yoga from a DVD? Don’t you need to have a yoga instructor spotting you to make sure that you’re doing the pose correctly? Fitness trainers at my gym said that you can get injured if you’re not doing the pose 100% correctly. Also, don’t you have to study for years before becoming a yoga instructor?”

My answer:

Thanks so much for writing! I understand where the fitness trainers are coming from, which is why in the full-length DVD programs, I go into quite a bit of detail about avoiding injuries and working in a way that supports, strengthens and heals your body.

Many of the YFS customers use the DVDs to complement their yoga practice. In other words, they do go to classes for personal instruction but use the DVDs when they travel or can’t make it to their regular yoga classes.

Also, my style of yoga is relatively “risk-free” — I’m not teaching headstands or shoulder stands, which DEFINITELY should be done with supervision from a trained instructor, especially when you’re new to yoga.

In fact, I always teach students to do yoga on their own — a few minutes daily can be much more beneficial than one 90-minute class a week.

Now, about training to become a yoga teacher: certainly, to truly MASTER anything takes about 10 years, but you can learn the basics and become quite proficient at teaching others in a relatively short amount of time, and then continue to build on that.

Personally, I’ve been practicing yoga for over 15 years and teaching for over 10. I always encourage students to try a variety of teachers and styles of yoga before they find a good fit. Yoga is like food — it comes in many different flavors and traditions. You need to find what suits your needs at whatever stage you are in during your life at the moment.

Some people rely on yoga as their main “workout” while others use it more for relaxation and stress reduction. Different teachers have different styles, and my approach is very unique.

In fact, here’s an email I got recently from YFS customer who is an experienced yogini:

First and foremost I want to say thank you. I have been in yoga for a long time and am a surfer. I have encountered many teachers who have lacked the skill of teaching and style of your videos. I go to many different schools and I find that you still are a better teacher and I enjoy the flow (From position to position and skill levels) that you’ve created for your dvd’s.

I live in San Diego and am looking to get my teaching certification. I don’t know if you teach at a studio or have any direction that you can give to a school that has your talent. If you have any suggestions or do teach I would love to go to a few of your classes. If nothing else I just wanted to send you an email saying you’re a great talent in yoga and I appreciate what you’ve added to the practice. Thank you for your time.

Rebekah Wright

(By the way, I am putting together a Yoga for Surfers Teacher Training program based on Rebekah’s interest and that of dozens of other teachers and teachers-in-training. Please respond to this email if you’d like more information about that.)

And as always, please send your questions my way! The way I look at it, the more surfers doing yoga, the better the vibe in the line-up!

P.S. Every yoga instructor I know ALWAYS encourages students to practice at home as well. Yoga is NOT about executing poses in a classroom or studio — yoga is a way of living. It’s an entire WAY of “being”. And you need no one “spotting” you on that, if you get what I mean!

P.P.S. If YOU want to experience feeling better and surfing better by incorporating yoga into your lifestyle, get the complete Yoga for Surfers program here, with bonus gifts and free shipping (including international orders!). Free shipping ends midnight January 31, 2010, so place your order today!

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