I am not a typical yoga instructor. My class is called, Yoga Stretch, simply because I want my clients to benefit from the poses by focusing on the physical challenge. I have always used stretches that were derived from yoga because they are effective.
I leave references to the divine out of my yoga classes because the whole reason that I started teaching yoga postures was to help my clients improve their flexibility and relieve their stress, not to convert anyone to Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist by the way. I have many different faiths in my classes and the last thing I ever want to do is make anyone feel uncomfortable.
I have done my training with Beth Shaw who created Yogafit. My training is through Yogafit Canada. I chose this path because I love the focus on proper posture for safety.
As Beth explains in her book, yoga “is not a religion, nor is it intended to conflict with anyone’s culture or belief system.” ( Shaw, 2009, p. 19). Yoga postures are meant to help people prepare for meditation.
I listened to a discussion yesterday about stopping the introduction of yoga in schools. I was quite surprised at the level of fear. These individuals were concerned that kids would want to abandon their Christian faith if they started doing yoga poses. I have had students say that they cannot attend my class because it goes against their religion. If they actually came to a session they would see that there is no mention of Buddha.
I started doing yoga when I was working three jobs, raising three teenagers and helping my aged parents.
I needed a place where I could simply be quiet.
Yes, there may have been references to the divine but as in everything, you take what you want out of an experience. Yoga allowed me to learn to relax, breathe better and the postures helped me to relieve built up stress. The physical challenge showed me muscle imbalances and continued practice helped me to improve those imbalances so I am at less risk for injury.
So that is why I call my yoga class, ‘Yoga Stretch’. I want people to know that I am focused on helping them to improve their flexibility and hopefully relieve some stress.
I hope to see you in one of my classes in the future!
Have a great day.
* Shaw, B (2009). Beth Shaw’s Yogafit – The program for a more powerful, flexible and defined physique. 2nd ed. United States: Human Kinetics. Champaign, IL