Making Up Poses

There is a book called "2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses".

There are others like it, but this seems fairly comprehensive. Yet, if you look at the poses in all 6 series of Ashtanga, that in itself would blow your mind.

The problem is, one ancient text says there are 80,000 poses; another says 80 million poses. Yeah, that’s right.

Yet in yoga classes, I always find that teachers try to make up poses. I think its like stars in the sky. People want to name a star or have it named after themselves. So they try to find something unique. I once did a pose on social media and the person who thought they were the rightful creator thought they should have been credited for making up that pose. Haha!! I don’t think she studied the ancient texts. You didn’t make that pose silly girl!

Even with the most basic poses that you’d find in the Ashtanga Primary series or even a "Dummies Guide to Yoga", you’d find the variety is amazing. Yet somehow, teachers are making up poses. They are looking for their signature pose. Or maybe their signature sequence. Everybody is egocentric that way in that they want something to call their own.

If you haven’t figured out already, I have an Ashtanga bent to how I do yoga. But its really a good basis for all practices. I adjust every class based on a Primary Series kind of sequence.

For every class, I try to include the following to make a complete class:

Warming Sun Salutations – there are many variations
Standing Poses – Warriors, triangles, and the like
Balance poses – Trees, dancers, and such
Wide Leg Standing poses – Prasaritas and goddesses
Seated poses – Forward folds, Heroes, and Baddha Konasanas
Back Bends – Camel, Bridges, and Upward Bows
Inversions – Headstands, Shoulder stands, and others
Twists – Seated or Reclined

I’ve been to classes where only 2 or 3 of these elements are covered. I basically never sat down in one class. I’ve been to classes where not a single backbend is done. I once went to a class and walked out afterward with a teacher with whom I did teacher training. She said, "My body feels angry". She explained that the class missed so much. It didn’t work antagonistic muscles. So you end up feeling lopsided. Or it is so Tamasic that you didn’t get rid of the Vritti. In other words, your mind & body are still in pent up chaos.

When you lay down into savasana, you should feel like every body part received warmth and stretching. You want your breath and circulatory system to have felt challenged. But if those needs aren’t met, then you are still bound to tension and stress.

I don’t even blame teachers for this. I blame teacher training for this. Yes, teachers need to engage is Svadhyaya (Self-Study), but the root of their education should have come in their training. When you learn 2+2, you know the logic in the answer. But if a training is focused more on a feeling or emotion and not something tangible, then it gets lost. It needs a strong foundation first.

Learn the basics, the principles, the intentions, the drishti, the breath. Then you can’t go wrong.

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