Is this something that can be cued from the outside in?
When I think back to the days that I practiced Westernized Yoga 6- 8 times per week, I remember each class being heavily focused on cueing “proper” alignment. This was done while simultaneously telling us to listen to our bodies.
At the time I had very little understanding of what listening to my body actually meant and this was not expanded beyond just listening to your body.
I could for sure mimic what good alignment was from the outside and that was enough. I don’t mean to say that this is wrong or bad, I think it’s a topic that I feel like elaborating on.
Now to answer the above question through my own lens of study and lived experience I have to say that alignment cues from the outside in, left me in a misaligned body…
I am learning from my body that alignment is something that is more than just a physical thing. Alignment is the seamless coordination between thought,feeling, and action.
This cannot happen if we are using our physical practise as a form of escapism!
( won’t expand on this today)
If we are looking to just “shut out” reality then how can we be in alignment if we “turn off” parts of us that are asking for attention to be seen, felt, and witnessed fully?
I have a bit of an understanding as to why Western Yoga has become so physically focused while somehow not even really listening to our bodies’ innate intelligence.
Yoga is inconvenient when practiced holistically. When we actually do the work that is required to find an internal alignment it would cause discomfort, it would open us up to our blind spots, and it would cause us to question our whole way of life.
The most interesting part is that once one finds internal alignment it’s not something that is found and then it’s ever more amen! Alignment is a choice in each moment, it requires constant awareness, it needs to be “brought off the mat” and lived.
Unfortunately internal alignment does not require fancy studios with heated rooms. Therefore making it much less profitable.
I have taught within the Yoga industry for many years, and I have to say there is major pressure to teach what people “want” , they come to sweat, they “want” to get more flexible! Teach what “they” want.
Who are “they” ?
It is this vague idea of what the public wants that many people collapse under. Only when we show up in a space with our alignment intact and our awareness on the people in the space with us can we begin to teach in a way that becomes a negotiation between what we as teachers offer and what the people in front of you need at the moment.
It requires surrender on both ends, surrender from me as the “teacher” thinking I know what someone needs. As well as surrender form the students in a way of accepting the class that unfolds even if it is not what you expected.
I let myself collapse under this pressure as a teacher for some years. This was not in my best interests or anyones for that matter, because even if you got the sweaty class you expected but then you walk out the door and choose harm, what good is that.
Staying true to the practice of self-awareness, and sharing from that place feels profound when it is in fact the most natural thing we could do.
So here’s to being bold and finding alignment from the inside, and allowing that alignment to slowly make its way into your home environment, work, relationships, and life.