I`ve been teaching yoga for 3 years and during this time I saw many people practice yoga in many different ways, which is all right. The question is WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE/ INTENTION with your practice?
I always say to my students that the intention behind any posture should be to generate an effect in the body, not to simply perform the posture or look good doing so. This is the main difference between a FUNCTIONAL approach to yoga and an AESTHETIC (or performance -related) approach. When you focus on how you look in a pose, rather than what it feels like, then the intention of optimizing health is lost. HOW YOU LOOK IN A POSE IS IRRELEVANT: HOW YOU FEEL IN THE POSE IS WHAT MATTERS!
If you wish to practice yoga with a FUNCTIONAL APPROACH, you need to be familiar with the term ` TARGETED AREA`. A targeted area can be any part of your body where you want to focus your attention. It can be a particular muscle, joint, fascial group or even an internal organ. Or you can have intentions, such as moving energy in your body, paying close attention to sensations, or deepening meditation. By thinking of your practice this way you will naturally evolve a functional approach to yoga over a purely aesthetic or performance - related approach.
IF YOUR INTENTION IN DOING YOGA IS TO REGAIN OR MAINTAIN OPTIMAL HEALTH, A FUNCTIONAL APPROACH IS ESSENTIAL!
Practicing with a functional approach; ask yourself the following questions:
What targeted areas are you trying to affect?
What are you actually feeling in the targeted areas?
If you are not feeling the pose where you want to feel it, how can you change the pose so that you create the desired feeling?
I see my students how CONSCIOUS they became with their PRACTICE. I think that`s the biggest gift I can give them..
``Yoga is not about touching your toes. It is what you learn on the way down! `` - Jigar Gor