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From Teacher to Student: The 10 Yoga Commandments

Sometimes being a teacher can get pretty repetitive.  I’ve noticed that there are certain things I say in almost every class.  And it’s not because I’m on autopilot: it’s because they’re all what I consider vital to our practice.  I consider the following my 10 commandments of yoga.

10 Yoga Commandments

  1. Be kind to your shoulders. You will lose every argument you try to have with them.
  1. Ditch the ego. Props are not training wheels. Neither are the modifications. They are there to customize the pose.
  1. Don’t ignore what your knees are telling you. They’ll shout what they need to say, if necessary. And they aren’t afraid to get mean in order to be heard.
  1. Work with where the body and mind are at right now – not with where you’d like them to already be.
  1. Your lower back is kind of like that passive friend who can’t say no. Be the supportive buddy who makes sure the lower back doesn’t just take on everything its given.
  1. Go into the pose because it is constructive for you in some way – not because you think that’s what is expected of you.
  1. If it’s enough sensation to lock up the breath, it’s enough sensation to lock up the body and mind. Whatever you think you’re achieving by cranking yourself into that shape, you’re not actually going to get it.
  1. Don’t set out to never lose the breath. You will lose the breath. Everyone loses the breath. It’s not about how long until you “mess up”. It’s about being mindful when it happens and finding your way back.
  1. Come at your practice from a place of curiosity.  This is not a test of how “good” you are at yoga.  There is no points system. There is only you.
  1. Don’t fret too much about savasana. Savasana boils down to three main components: a chance to be still, a chance to see what comes from that stillness, and – most importantly – a chance to see how you would like to go forward with what you’re finding. Whether you’re floating in a zenned-out bliss or bouncing from thought to thought.  Whether you feel antsy or fall asleep.  Be still, see what comes from that stillness, and see what you can do with what you find.  The rest is purely detail.

Talk to me. Is there any that you would add? Let me know in the comments below!

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7 Comments

  1. Amanda

    Amanda

    June 12, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I love #7. That’s a great way to put that and it’s something I’m going to remember for my own teaching. I always say that if it’s a struggle to breathe, it’s a sign we’re doing a little too much. I like your way of saying it better. 🙂 #9 developed for me personally awhile back, when I realized I felt almost giddy to get on the mat to see what might happen today. That has stayed with me ever since.

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    jorge

    June 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Can I add a commandment?
    Be humble with your practice, with your teacher and your classmates.

    Thanks for the Post!

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      Shawn

      June 15, 2016 at 11:28 am

      I agree. I make it a point of walking up and thanking my instructor after every practice. Thanks for the comment Jorge!

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    vp_oeno.yogi

    June 12, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    great commandments! 😉

  4. Megan Reddix

    Megan Reddix

    June 12, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    These are so important to remember!! Once a yoga teach told me that the hyper flexible may be lacking in strength and those who seem to be lacking in flexibility have more strength than they know how to control. It is important to find the right balance for each body, and each body is different. Keeping that in mind, we must realize that each practice is different and even if you are in the same class, each person will have a different take on the class and each mat will exude a different practice. Thank you for these commandments ?

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    malama

    June 19, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    WOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!! these are some really great commandments will surely recommend this blog to a friend and also for those that would like to do their yoga at home in during their spare time

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