Introducing our monthly community theme for Yoga Fix.
Particularly in our modern culture of social media, seeing the world through digital means rather than reality can sometimes cause us to see a skewed version of things. We can also create an image for ourselves online that may not feel particularly authentic in the flesh or see other people and things as what we 'should' be or be doing. However, when we take a step back and anchor ourselves in our own authentic nature, we find we become much less bothered about what others may be wearing, doing, because we are not trying to "be" someone else other than ourselves, and guess what? Everyone wants to see you as the best and most authentic YOU. Authenticity is your own true self in expression. "When you are anchored in yourself and what’s really true for you, not only do you experience greater ease and wellbeing - but you radiate that and give others permission to be who they really are." - Leila Sadeghee.
Yoga down-regulates your nervous system and quiets your mind - so you can discern more clearly your own true voice. It also makes you more robust - so even if being the real you isn’t easy, you can weather the challenges without backing out of your truth.
Being authentic sometimes involves being vulnerable. Those times when the easiest thing would be to go with the flow but actually we think something different, do we hide or step into the space of strength and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to really say how we feel or say what we think? It's a vulnerable space because it's our raw selves and we are sometimes scared of what people think of our TRUE self. It's much easier to hide behind being something else, so we're protected against other people's opinions of us.
Write morning pages -this is a journaling technique from Julie Cameron's, 'The Artist's Way' where each morning, before you do anything else, you write non-stop for three pages. It can be rubbish, you can write, 'I hate doing three stupid pages blah blah blah', you can note down your dreams, you can let yourself write about how much you want to eat breakfast but slowly without you realising it your desires emerge from the waffle and you begin to see what you really want. Warning: that authenticity can be surprising!
Meet up with Old Friends. You know, those people who make you laugh the most and who you feel funniest with? Yes! I think really good friends let you be your best self. They might raise their eyebrows at some of your new ideas but they know when you're living by your values. Equally they can often gently ask the question that undoes us if we're behaving inauthentically. A good laugh can release a lot and give you the space to see where you're standing and also where you want to stand. Enjoy the giggles!
Take a moment to step off the conveyor belt that you are on so you can gain perspective. Whether this be having a whole week of evenings to yourself, going out to reconnect to nature at the weekend by yourself, or even getting away for a whole week. However you imagine yourself stepping off that conveyor belt of London life for a moment then do it. Breathe it. Feel it. When we stop and slow down we have time to reassess, be ourselves without any one to entertain or answer to and sometimes this is what we need to simply realign ourselves back with who we really are and what makes us tick.
Dancer’s Pose is a fun yet challenging asana that often forms the peak of a yoga class. A combination of a standing balance and a back bend, this pose is a deep shoulder opener that creates length through the front of the hips and abdomen and improves mobility in our upper back. It is therefore the perfect antidote to prolonged periods sitting behind a desk. Practising Dancer’s Pose gives us a wonderful opportunity to explore finding the balance between effort and ease in our yoga practice while developing our focus, resilience and stamina.
It is suggested that the full expression of Dancer’s Pose may not be an appropriate asana to practice if you have existing rotator cuff injury although modifications are always available
Here are some variations and helpful modifications of this pose.
Use a wall as support for your free hand or your back foot while you develop your balance
If you find it really difficult to hold the inside of your foot hold the outside instead but roll your shoulder back to keep your chest broad
Loop a yoga strap over your back ankle and hold the strap with both hands held above your head
For those practitioners who are very supple you can try to hold your back foot with your bent elbow instead of your hand or take hold of your back foot with both hands!
Here is a short video tutorial with Doctor Yogi teaching you Dancer’s Pose.
Contributors: Gemma Soul, Charlotte Gallagher and Andrew McGonigle.
Andrew McGonigle, also known as Doctor Yogi, originally trained as a medical doctor but moved away from western medicine to pursue a career as a yoga teacher, massage therapist and anatomy teacher. Andrew has been practising yoga and meditation for over 12 years and teaching strong, grounding, alignment based classes since 2009. He combines all of his skills to teach anatomy and physiology on Yoga Teacher Training courses across London and internationally and contributes monthly to Om Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine with his anatomy feature 360° Yoga.
Andrew has worked closely with Psycle to develop our popular new Yoga Fix classes and supports our teachers with his renowned anatomy trainings.
For more information visit: www.doctoryogi.co.uk