Is Yoga "Just Stretching"?
Class 12 is on the site now!
We work our way to a deep back-bend called "tip toe fish" at the very end of class. If deep back-bends are not your thing, that is OK! It is optional. You will still enjoy a full practice.
Hello and Happy July!
July is my birth month. I am a proud (and sometimes loud) Leo. At the end of July we enter Leo season...I have some special treats planned for you guys!
So...Is yoga just stretching?
Well, lets say this: Yoga is stretching but stretching is not yoga.
When we practice yoga, as I teach it, as I have learned it, as I have come to know it and share it with you, we are definitely stretching - that is truth. As a matter of fact, the stretching I have experienced in my yoga practice and by extension in the classes I teach is so deep and so thorough, it has truly changed my life. I hope the same is true for you. So whats all the fuss if we are just stretching?
One of my favorite teachers at Jivamukti Yoga, Cassandra, said one day "In yoga we are not stretching. We are moving energy."
What does that mean? That means that the dynamic combination of asana (poses), breath, chanting and meditation leads to an energetic shift that is much more profound that just stretching. Stretching is largely designed to focus on acute areas of muscular tightness without involvement or input from the whole of the person: body, mind, spirit.
Can you relate to that? I certainly can. After a run, I like to stretch - you know what that looks like? I touch my toes in the elevator as it takes me up to my apartment on the 4th floor. Is that yoga? Nope! When I engage in a full yoga practice, I am committing to what I know will be a comprehensive experience using my breath to connect my movement, my mind to witness my thoughts, and my spirit to align the two.
There is SO much more to talk about in terms of energetic channels (called Nadis), points of energetic intensity (called chakras) and energetic flow (called prana) -I cannot cover it all here in this post. I am excited to chip away at all these goodies in the next few posts.
I wanted to affirm for you all that yes, yoga is stretching but its not JUST stretching. If you began yoga for a good stretch, great! But I bet you stayed with it for the energetic shift, aka that "I cant explain it, I just feel great after yoga class" phenomenon.
Now for some gratitude: I thank you for reading this, for taking class, for supporting me, and for pouring into YOU. I only wish I could see you, witness your practice, support you physically with adjustments, both physical and energetic - sometimes a check of our alignment, a smile, a hello, or just being seen on any level can give you the boost of energy you need! That part of class fulfilled me quite a bit as a teacher, and I miss it. This newsletter and Instagram is me saying "Hello! I see you! I would adjust you if I could! I hope you are having a good day!"
Now lets move some energy. See you in class.
Who in your life needs to hear this today?
Namaste and love,
Melinda and yes, Black Lives Matter.