How changing times have changed our bodies and the practice of yoga.
The human body has changed. The body that once enjoyed more physical endeavours, now has machines to do much of its work. It has adapted to the rise of technology, to the seated lifestyle, to the age of instant gratification. And because the body has adapted, so must yoga.
‘When I started teaching the yoga open class more than a decade ago, I could teach anyone. Absolutely anyone could do the postures. But in the last 5 years, I’ve seen a drastic decline in people’s ability to do the postures. What this caused me to do, is to start adapting yoga.” Lila Lolling, on why she created the Adapted Sivananda Yoga Course.
Lila Lolling is a tireless advocate of the positive and healing effects of yoga for different communities including the Deaf and Blind. The Adapted Sivananda Yoga course was born as a natural progression of the adaptations she was increasingly required to include in her classes to cater to the different physical limitations of her students.
I had the privilege of learning from her and witnessing her unadulterated passion for sharing yoga with the world. I also got to spend some time with her after the course and learn a little bit more about her journey from teaching classical yoga to becoming a crusader for adapted yoga.
I found my way to this course shortly after quitting my corporate job to teach yoga full time. I had only just begun to work, and I quickly learned that conventional asanas don’t work for everyone. I had to research and prepare variations of asanas and flows for each of my clients. I had clients with injuries, clients who lacked strength and mobility because of their lifestyles, clients with bad backs from being hunched over their smart phones and laptops, clients who were overworked and overweight, and I also had clients who were not convinced yoga could do anything for them.
I started looking for ways to educate myself better, and in a couple of weeks Adapted Sivananda Yoga course notification popped up on my Facebook feed. Serendipity.
We were a group of 35 students from different backgrounds (both Sivananda and other yoga schools) who spent 9 days together, learning incredible things about the human body, its limitations and the limitless possibilities of yoga. And learning from one another.
The course content, both theory and practice, covered anatomy, different formats of yoga classes, and offered variations of classical Sivananda yoga asanas for various physical conditions such as back pain, joint issues, asthma, obesity and pregnancy. For me, the most special part of the course was the yoga sessions on how to teach the Deaf and Blind communities.
The Sivananda Adapted Yoga Course has made me a safer and more responsible yoga teacher and practitioner. It has given me the confidence to follow my natural instincts when it came to adapting poses for different clients. But it has also made me realise how little I know, and how much more I need to study.
Most importantly though, it has finally given me the direction I’ve been searching for as a yoga teacher. To work with people who think yoga is beyond their reach, and to make yoga more accessible to everybody and every body.
P.S. To learn more about the incredible Lila Lolling, please visit http://www.lilalolling.com/
To know more about the Adapted Sivananda Yoga Course, please visit: https://sivananda.org.in/yoga-courses/adapted-sivananda-yoga-course.html