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In Search of the Perfect Yoga Exercises

Paul M. Jerard Jr.

What is the perfect Yoga? Is it hot Yoga, based on correct alignment; Vinyasa Yoga, only to be performed with props; or do props take something away from Yoga practice? What about Yoga styles which are not from the Hatha Yoga tree? So - what exactly is the right Yoga for you?

Below, I will cover some of the statements I have heard over the years. Some of these statements are straight from the ego, self righteous, and a bit intolerant of other styles of Yoga. Please don't be offended, and please try to understand - we are not all the same.

"Yoga should be hot; otherwise you're getting nothing out of it."

Interesting - I heard Bikram make similar claims on the television show, "60 minutes." I am in admiration of Bikram, and his wife, Rajashree. They have trained many good Yoga teachers, Yogis, and Yoginis.

However, there are many Yoga practitioners who practice at moderate temperatures and receive fantastic health benefits from their daily practice. When people make statements such as: "Yoga should be hot; otherwise you're getting nothing out of it." They scare off those potential Yoga practitioners who believe them.

This could be a person who would have improved their life through the practice of Yoga. Let's stop the "my way or the highway" mentality. If you truly care about people, tell them the whole truth and give them options. If I can't please someone with the Restorative and Vinyasa styles in our wellness center, I will find someone who can meet my student's expectations of Yoga.

Lastly, I do personally like the heat. However, in New England, I know many people who don't. Even at moderate temperatures, many students get quite warm in a Vinyasa class.

"If your alignment is not perfect, why bother to practice Yoga?"

Without a doubt, alignment is very important, but some of us really need to use props to find the best alignment for our bodies. Yoga teachers need to encourage all of their students to practice more often and accept some limitations that come with each body.

Yoga teachers should be careful not to discourage those students who have limited range of motion. Again, props can be used by any Yoga practitioners, and with the careful guidance of a compassionate Yoga teacher, progress is made.

One last note on this point: No two bodies are alike, so let's be more understanding of ourselves and those around us. This applies to Yoga and life.

Copyright 2006 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Paul Jerard is director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He's a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches that along with fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students who want to be a teacher.

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