I seem to be hearing this phrase more and more as the fashion for strong, vinyasa and fitness power type yoga grows. This type of yoga tends to be very physical and can encourage competitiveness and ‘end gaming’ as students try to force their bodies into postures …. a recipe for injuries.
If you are strong, supple, fit and healthy then maybe this tough, demanding yoga with lots of upper body and shoulder work, and lots of strong, dynamic posture changes is for you. But make sure you work with an experienced and well trained teacher (ideally look for someone who has completed a 500 hour teacher training programme with a respected yoga institution such as the British Wheel of Yoga or validated by Yoga Alliance)
But many people drawn to yoga are not strong, supple, fit and healthy. They perhaps wish to increase strength, flexibility, balance, co-ordination or overall wellbeing. These individuals may well be better served by a more gentle style of yoga with a teacher who, whilst encouraging them to explore their boundaries, makes it a priority to keep them safe from injury. Still look for a well trained and experienced teacher (as above) – but look for clue words in their descriptions of teaching style such as ‘gentle’ or ‘holistic’.
It’s always good to try and talk to the teacher prior to attending a class …get to find out about them – why do they teach, where did they train, what style do they teach in etc. Make sure you feel comfortable with them. Be clear what you are seeking in a yoga class, and then you can find the right teacher for you.
I always love to talk to prospective students, and am happy to answer any questions and give reassurance. I welcome students with existing injuries and am happy to offer modifications so that they can enjoy a safe practice.
Enjoy your yoga!