I was trained in a very spiritual yoga school. I received fantastic training but after a while I began to feel coerced to adopt a belief system that I didn’t necessarily agree with. Now I teach freelance at a few places, and teach Silver Age yoga for seniors. It is important to me that each student be able to accept and enjoy yoga on their own terms. If they enjoy the physical well being, they will continue to come to class and eventually they may benefit from the calm that control of breathing can offer them, as well as coming to understand more about their own bodies. Over time they will learn more about themselves and their abilities. Whatever form that takes for each student it is always a positive experience. To say that yoga must be a certain way is to disrespect the very nature of yoga. If you embrace all the limbs of yoga you will incorporate a spiritual practice. However that is not a necessity and this kind of inflexible (pardon the pun) approach turns students (and even teachers like me) off where a more open minded approach can allow everyone to realize benefits in their own way.
I don’t teach traditional Yoga but I do implement some Yoga movements into many of my class formats. As a dance educator first and kinesiologist, Tree Pose is just a Passe. Also, it’s just a hip flexion, then hip lateral rotation and knee flexion. I’m focus is just on body alignment, technique…you know the body mechanics of the movement. It’s about increasing body awareness, injury prevention, exercise modification/progression, etc.
It’s great to offer traditional and non-traditional Yoga so that the participants have more exercise options keep them active through their entire lifespan.
Absolutely! Yoga is whatever the instructor or the participant makes it.
For me, yoga is not about exercise in the traditional sense. It is about pain management. I have very tight hamstrings (both) and a tight piriformis on one side. If those muscles are not stretched regularly, then I experience constant pain in the knee & buttocks. Consistent participation in a yoga class with poses that target those areas relieves the pain. I focus on my exhales to help deepen the poses.
If I do not focus on the meditative/spiritual aspect, is it still yoga? To me, yes.