Keeping it in the family

I’m realising that when people know you’re a trained yoga teacher there are two reactions: they either expect you to ‘fix’ anything that’s ever been wrong with them and assume you live some kind of austere ascetic lifestyle, or there’s mistrust and cynicism, doubting that you know anything of any value. I don’t think I’m being unfair to say my family can tend towards the latter. I totally forgive them; in their shoes I’d be the same. They have to adjust to a new me. After all, the first ever time I met my brother in law, we just about got through dinner before I fell soundly asleep on the sofa while everyone talked around me, only waking up as he left at the end of the evening. Now he sees me toting a yoga mat (my second best travel mat at that!) on holiday with me and making time for daily practice around our regular activities. I’m more obviously healthy now than he’s ever known me.

Physio instructions on the fridge

Plus I’m amused that out of the four adults, I’m the only one currently free of physio exercises. Even the small nephew is carrying a niggling shoulder injury from baseball pitching! There’s a daily hunt for physio balls, resistance bands and foam rollers as they assemble their equipment. I guess we’re all at that age when bad postural habits of a lifetime come home to roost.

The other day, while we were watching my nephew running around in the park, my sister in law fidgeted her way into Malasana (as you do to pass the time!), talking to me about how hard it was for her and where she felt resistance. I don’t offer advice unless I’m asked, but I took this as an implicit request for professional observation, so I suggest a slight alteration of her stance. “Really? That’s not how I do it!” was her instinctive reaction. But she followed my advice and admitted it felt easier. Phew!

imageBack at home I was pleasantly surprised when she wanted to join me in practice. It went well enough given that I suddenly needed to talk my way through something suitable with her moving alongside me, accommodating an Achilles tendon injury and an undeclared shoulder problem along the way. And this done right next to the menfolk who were building a barbecue and ‘mansplaining’ to one another all the while! Not the best circumstances, but she seemed happy enough afterwards. Though it didn’t stop her arguing with me later on about some detail of anatomy that yoga teachers apparently always get wrong…



3 thoughts on “Keeping it in the family

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    1. He he, I have difficulty calling myself *any kind* of teacher, as you well know!
      The anatomical detail — oh, she argued against anything being called a ‘hip opener’ in favour of a cue to engage the glutes strongly. I pointed out that it wasn’t just glutes that opened/externally rotated the hip, and that describing the desired action was more neutral than isolating a particular muscle, esp as students awareness of where joints are is usu better than where muscles are, and that just because she feels this in glutes more than anywhere, that didn’t mean all students would experience the same. I didn’t go on about degrees of effort vs release, though I wanted to, because I didn’t think it would be well-received in this convo.
      I’d love to hear your thoughts too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are 3 gluteal muscles, and they perform various actions. So thinking engagement of the gluteals = external (lateral) hip rotation is not really correct…
        It’s a lot more complicated than that (I’m looking at my anatomy book right now). In a class situation you wouldn’t want to go into the details of the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus engagement (and their anterior/posterior fibers!). Too much info! So I agree that referring to the joint action is so much more effective in communicating the desired action.


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