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Why focus on a ‘Functional Approach’ to yoga?

Because there is no ‘one pose fits all’.

Have you ever experienced that you simply cannot ‘do‘ a certain pose no matter how much you practiced and tried?

Have you ever had students not being able to progress in their practice, telling you that they feel stuck, or that they are not strong enough and they simply cannot take the pose further?

This is not due to you being bad yogi, a bad teacher or that your students just simply cannot do yoga properly!

What It means is that each of us are unique in our Being! From the deep of our cells and bones to the outer edges of our Universe!

Our skeleton is like a fingerprint and we are all different. A pose that may serve one person may injure and harm another. Yoga should never be a burden. In our philosophy, yoga is uplifting, empowering, life enhancing and balancing!

A functional approach to yoga will empower each student to find their way to practice a pose so that the physical, energetic, mental and emotional purpose of that pose can meet the practitioner.

That for us, is yoga.

What is functional Yoga?

A functional approach to yoga is based on anatomical and scientific evidence that our physiology, skeletons and tissues, our nature, energy, and motivations are uniquely made up and arranged. There is no one like you.

You and your wonderful uniqueness constitutes who you are. And who you are embraces all your quirks and ways, skills, and limitations.

The variation in human anatomy and psychology is truly endless.

We see it all the time! Some of us are extroverts, some are not. Some great at languages, but not at maths. Some can perform the splits as a party trick but doesn’t do any form of exercise. One person may love gymnastics but will never ‘make it’ to the top, no matter how many years they have trained, because they simply cannot bend down to touch their hands to their toes!

The shapes and proportions of your bones and the bones relationships with each other are all unique to you. That is ultimately what determines your range of motion, your point of compression and ability to do the splits or touch your toes.

As a yoga teacher this is your job to know and understand!

And the thing is, Functional Yoga is not a style of yoga, but can be applied to any yoga style!

When teaching a functional yoga practice, you must know your functional anatomy. Only then are you able to use your x-ray vision to see each individual student’s points of compression and range of motion. Only then can you correctly start to assist your student in their practice and in each pose.

Functional Yoga and functional movement are ways to acknowledge differences and accept them. When we practice functionally, we allow our differences to empower us as we strive to reach the purpose of the pose. We perform a pose our way, gaining the physical, mental, energetic purpose of the pose, rather than ‘fighting a pose’ by striving to look a certain way. In functional yoga there are no ‘I can’t do that’ but always a solution at hand to do it your way!

Poses that may have felt like a burden and diminishing your enthusiasm for yoga because you ‘never get there’ will be no more!

When you know a functional approach to yoga and functional anatomy and range of motion, your pose may look slightly different, but there is always a way for you to gain the purpose of the pose!

What is more important, to look a certain way in your practice or to feel a certain way?

Aesthetics vs functional approach to yoga

Instead of focusing on aesthetic goals such as a look of a pose. The good old ‘I want to bend my back like him’ or ‘I wish I could do the splits like her’, we focus on function, physical range of motion, individual function, and movement our own way.

We focus on finding our own way to strengthen and bend the spine into a backbend that serves us, our own way to move, our own way to express ourselves and our own way into an authentic practice and way of life, unique to each and every Being!

Unique to you!

But the mistake many yoga studios, teacher training and teachers make is to teach an aesthetic way of yoga. We are not all the same!

An aesthetic way of teaching and practicing yoga is a way of set alignment rules in asana and practice. That is one rule for all. One pose fits all. This is what most yoga schools teach. They set up sequences with alignment rules and teach it in a group scenario. The aim is to get everyone in class to perform the pose the same way and to look the same way. The reason for this is often safety. To keep the student safe.

The problem is that it is more often working the opposite way! It is not safe for all of us. What is not realised is that every Yoga Pose is bad for somebody!

These teachings are done by teachers who do not fully understand anatomy and physiology when the body is moving, they practice an aesthetic way of anatomy and movement.

The problem with an aesthetic approach is that people are essentially different! Not only are we different in our personalities but also in our physiology! Our bodies are vastly different.

How can we then expect a whole room of yoga student to perform all poses looking the same way?

The aesthetic queuing into a pose or and aesthetic adjustment made, may work for some students but can hurt and injure someone else!

When we learn how to move and teach functionally a potent and profound change is taking place. We are suddenly free to be us, fully, unapologetically, and real!

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”

Oscar Wilde

In a functional approach to yoga and movement, all bodies and Beings can benefit from the poses in their own unique way, enjoying a practice that is safe, balancing, nurturing, empowering, and inspiring despite strength and flexibility, body shape, age, or previous experience.

Of course, our functional approach to yoga goes beyond the physical body. Understanding functional yoga anatomy and a functional approach to yoga leads to an understating that our meditation is functional, and so is our yoga philosophy. There is so much more to us than our physical bodies and the functional asana practice will lovingly open those doors.

When we open these doors we start to live our yoga! Understanding these fundamental principles makes a huge difference!

We are all beautifully alive Beings, different physically, energetically, emotionally, and mentally, therefore our yoga practice needs to be alive and functional to suit all our different needs and unique bodies.

No matter what you have encountered in life, we hope that the teachings we share will individually move your physical body, calm your mind, boost your energy, and fill your heart with love.

Our aim is to assist You towards enjoying yoga, living a happier, healthier and fuller life. When we live a full life, sharing this goodness to lift others happens with ease.

We hope that while you enjoy our classes or embark on any of our courses or teacher trainings that you will feel empowered by the functional approach to yoga, making each yoga experience uniquely yours!

Yours in sunshine and well-Being

Mysan

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