Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sing Your Yoga

After an enjoyable summer off, I was back in the choir loft singing at church this morning.

(If you've never developed a pranayama practice, join the choir. Many of the same benefits of pranayama are found in singing.)

Unlike a few of my early experiences in the church choir, I find now that because of the extra focus I bring to bear (to follow the choir director, tune up my pitch, keep rhythm), I participate more fully in the liturgy and I get more out of it. My experience of our parish gathering is richer. And it has more lasting impact.

I've found the same general rule applies to teaching yoga, when compared to simply practicing yoga.

In order for me to teach yoga, I've really got to focus. I concentrate.

I've found that much of the time that added level of focus allows me to do some things that I'm usually not able to do when I'm just practicing yoga.

I'll grant it to you that teaching yoga, at least the way I do it, is a highly verbal activity. Doing yoga, on the other hand, is not.

Yet, while teaching, my focus is often so distilled, I can simply say a phrase like, "relax your jaw" and my jaw goes slack right then and there.

Could listening be the key? Paying attention?

When I teach yoga, I'm not only saying what I'd like my students to do, but I'm listening to what I'm saying. (If you've never taught yoga before you may be unfamiliar with how important this is.) Likewise, when I'm singing at church, I'm listening to what I'm singing.

It's self-awareness.

Want to add a new dimension of focus to your yoga practice? Try saying out loud what you need to say in order to get yourself to do the thing you want to do.

Don't just think the thoughts. Say the words and listen. You'll be surprised at how difficult it is to say what you want. But when you master the concentraion required to say only what is needed, you'll see that it pays off in your practice.

Once you've taught yourself some yoga, experiment with teaching others. Share your yoga experience. Don't keep it to yourself. Sing it out. It's rewarding to give to others what you have received.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry
www.ExperienceYoga.org

p.s., The Sanskrit Word of the Day from my previous Daily Yoga Tip was nidra. Nidra means sleep, as in yoganidrasana, the sleep of the yoga pose.

p.p.s., Today's Sanskrit Word of the Day is pada. I'll tell you what it means next time.

p.p.p.s., I wrote about some of the effects of singing in Daily Yoga Tip from June, 2005. It's called "'Old Friend' Became Deep Throat for More Energy Than Ever." You can read it here.

p.p.p.p.s., Sallie Keeney and I sat down yesterday for a very inspiring session of preparation for the "Foundations of Teaching Yoga" workshop were doing this Saturday in Fulton, MO. If you have a desire to teach yoga and you currently study and practice yoga, you're invited to participate in this 6-hour workshop.

This workshop starts at 9 am and finishes at 4 pm. We'll take a 1-hour break for lunch.

Here's the cool part: it's by donation only. You pay what you want. Or you pay nothing at all. You won't want to miss it.

At this workshop we won't be teaching yoga poses, we'll be teaching about teaching. So come prepared to teach.

You must register in advance by calling Sandy Conner Otto at Natural Focus Yoga Studio, in Fulton, MO. She is our host for the day.

Please bring an audio recorder/play-back device (e.g., cassette recorder, digital recorder, dictaphone, etc.) if you have one, and your three favorite yoga pose books. If you like notes, bring a pen and a notebook. We won't be giving any cue sheets or handout materials.

See you there. Email me, or call, if you have questions at info@experienceyoga.org.

And, we'll be coming back the next day, Sunday afternoon, for a 3-hour session of meditation and yoga philosophy. Again, this workshop is by donation only. Please call Sandy for more information and to register.

p.p.p.p.p.s., Yesterday morning I took my first yoga class since my knee surgery 10 days ago. It felt great to be back studying yoga again. After yoga, I went to my first physical therapy session. My physical therapist was very happy, as I have been, with the progress I've made.

I asked you all for your prayers. It seems obvious to me now that you did. Thank you. I am grateful beyond words.

I want to write tomorrow about the knee pain I felt in yoga class, and just what I did about it. Later on this week, I'll be writing about what I learned from my physical therapist about how to clear swelling and inflammation out of my joint. Stay tuned.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.
Kevin Perry
Mo Yoga LLC
1305 Elmerine Ave
Jefferson City, MO 65101

(573) 680-6737

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