In nature, movement is never exactly the same. Nature is full of complicated, changing and uneven environments. Its biodiversity is what makes it thrive. There are no straight lines in nature  – everything bends and curves, and is imperfect. Even our bodies are asymmetrical. I believe in the natural ability of our bodies to adapt to these complicated environments, and to move into shapes without rigidity. There is no perfect pose, and there is no correct way to exist in space.

In my classes, I put an emphasis on moving intuitively, knowing that we have evolved to move through complex environments and not linear paths. Such as: the yoga studio – flat floors, square room, the confinement of the rectangular yoga mat – these are all capable of stunting the creativity we have in our own bodies. It is important to find ways to challenge this repetition so that we can relate to our bodies as individuals. Keeping things different is crucial. We can lose our presence in a yoga class if we practice too much repetition.

Here are some ways that we as students can embrace the intelligence of our bodies, and change up our yoga practice:

  1. Close your eyes when you can. This allows us to tap into a deeper awareness – the proprioceptive part of our brains. It allows us to shut down distractions, to stop trying to mimic each other, and to start feeling instead of just doing. While it is still important to follow basic alignment cues to avoid injury, there’s lots of room for creativity within this.
  2. Approach poses differently. Instead of holding a static pose, start to explore movement within the parameters of that shape. For example, in tree pose, try rotating your bent leg. Instead of taking limbs to their end range, try withdrawing a bit and practicing joint centration (holding your joints in a central position without putting too much or too little strain on them).
  3. Take on other movement activities. You might find after one rock-climbing session, you will relate to your body in a completely different way during your next yoga practice. Maybe something that has been a troubled pose for you will start to become accessible. Trying more things may help you to become more engaged with your practice.
  4. Take your practice outside. Try practicing on an uneven surface – as our bodies have evolved to do.  This will encourage us to utilize the full potential of our feet as stabilizers. Practicing outdoors and barefoot will also increase sensitivity to our natural environments, increasing our spatial orientation, and making us more capable and diverse movers.

Next time you approach your yoga practice, take inspiration from all forms of movement, the outdoors, and your own bodily intuition. Being creative with your body will keep your practice exciting and you will become a more adaptable yogi!

About Tyler Jackson
Through movement, Tyler challenges the stagnation of modern life. He believes strongly in the importance of cultivating creativity in yoga, and by doing so, nourishing an individual’s approach to movement. Tyler has been largely inspired by participation with Axis Syllabus, Diane Bruni, Micheal Stone and Kathryn Bruni.

Sign up for his classes at Union here.