Why Skeletal Variation puts “Standard Cueing” on its head in a Yoga Class

I almost died of shame. 

I set aside my early lineage training and began to teach a universal alignment lineage. But after my first few days of Yin training, I realized I had been cueing and insisting upon it incorrectly and possibly to the detriment of students.

Yin founder Paul Grilley learned in the lab that no one has the same bone and joint shape, size or structure. Which means no one can look the same in yoga asanas. 

It would be like trying to get everyone to smile exactly the same.

Further implications are that some people would never be able to look like they have mastered a pose even after 20 years of practice. 

This blew my mind.

There was a way to know if students were at their final flexibility point not by seeing but by asking some questions of how they felt internally.

We are each unique expression of the poses. Everything else is a lack of knowledge.

There are further implications for a teacher to understand if a student has the awareness to know their internal sensations. Also, helping a student to navigate if their body sensation is the result of changing a repetitive postural habit?

Suddenly being a yoga teacher of 10-40 student class size made it impossible for me to cue the most basic intentions in a pose. 

I returned to my original lineage in which alignment was not the driving force, instead the sense of ease (sukham) and moving with internal awareness became the guide. 

But the students wanted to know exact cues. Such as, does my knee go beyond my ankle? Or do my shoulders raise or lower? 

So I started to develop cues that took into consideration some potential generalized guidelines but without the dogma or certainty that it was right for them.

I found myself saying; “If it feels ok to your body” a lot.

I have refined my understanding of anatomy and some guidelines that apply to most; however, I continually find in 200 hour training that someone comes along and defies that seemingly universal cue. 

We are unique.

The poses themselves are multidimensional tools. Once again, the development of internal awareness came through play within the poses.

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