What I learned from yoga

I go to class because I want help learning yoga. Sure, I could watch DVDs and read my books and go through the motions of my practice, but they are no substitute for a good instructor. I sat down today and listed a couple of things that my instructors have taught me over the past few weeks.

  1. I can open my chest by bringing my shoulder blades together — so many years slumped over a computer keyboard have rounded off my shoulders and caved in my chest. I am constantly telling myself to try to move my shoulder blades closer and then down my back.
  2. I can improve my posture by rotating my tail bone down and the pubic bone up — making my pelvis more of a container – this has a ripple affect throughout my body. Another effect of chair sitting and computer work. My yoga teacher’s instructions to move my tail bone towards the floor lead to an almost automatic correction of posture up my spine and down my legs. Without the adjustment, I find myself constantly leaning and slumping forward — and after a while it feels normal.
  3. Tight, rigid muscles are not the same as strong muscles — core muscles need to be engaged but not frozen.
  4. A couple of extra pounds make yoga more work. For one thing, the body does not fit together right. Chunky legs mean that the knees don’t fold together neatly, for instance. Shoulder stand and plow positions are complicated because my gut gets in the way.

When I bring the first two points together in my body, I find that I am walking around in a jaunty kind of way — a kind of bounce in my step, head high on my shoulders and my arms swinging forcefully.