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SHOULD YOGA TEACHING AND PRACTISE EVOLVE RADICALLY TO FIT MODERN LIFE? After practising for more than twenty years, I started teaching yoga through a local city recreation center, where I design each course to try to fit the needs of the attendees. Continually gathering student input, I've felt called to use the traditional canon of hatha and astanga yoga practise as a springboard for "new" asanas. I am a retired paramedic who taught emergency medicine, including anatomy, and I base whatever I do on principles of anatomy as well as the ancient traditions.
For example, I've observed that we are evolving towards round-shoulderedness (from sedentary occupation) something the ancients who gave us the traditional science did not build in to the design. I rarely see students who have adequate enough shoulder flexibilty and strength to get the full potential benefits from a pose like Downward-Facing Dog, which relies in part on creating a straight, strong extension of the arms. Breezing through a Sun Salutation without the intended form can make yoga into an awkward calisthenic rather than a powerful physical transformative force.
So, this fall, I've been inspired to rely on intuition and creativity to design a course called Yoga for Women, which focuses on balance, core strength, and mental poise. I rely on Patanjali's precepts and draw from the wealth of yoga tradtion, but I also add my own asanas and exercises.
I can't help but wonder if, in this time of accerated change in human consciousness, there are other yoga teachers (including your guest) and practitioners who feel drawn to an expansion of the traditions?
Best wishes,
Susan Sherman
Charlottesville, VA