By: Carmen Champion

In my corporate Power Yoga class one day, a student asked me a question. This particular class is very playful and have been practicing together, to some capacity, for years. They joke, tease me and have even had bystanders make comments about how much fun the class is always having.  So when another student chimed in before I could respond, ‘Well, Carmen would say, ‘its not about how the posture looks, but how it feels in the body,’ I just nodded in agreement and laughed.

That instance leads me to writing this, because there are a lot of quips teachers say which students dismiss or don’t understand. So I compiled a short list of things I say over and over again, because I firmly believe them to be true.

  1. A prop doesn’t mean you cant do something, it provides you the opportunity to do it better.

When I offer a student in class a prop, I’m not trying to offend them. Props are wonderful ways to explore the body in a posture and create space. Sometimes the body becomes so compressed, it collapses on itself and due to the length of an appendage, the student holds an uncomfortable space in addition to compressing areas of the spine or abdomen that he could be opening and strengthening.

Props bring the earth up to you and create an even playing field for all body types.

  1. When I ask you to set an intention, it’s a nice way of making you ask yourself, ‘why are you here?’

Seriously, why are you here? Im not asking in the philosophical way, but in the, ‘what motivated you to get your butt behind the wheel of the car and drive over here’ kinda way. I cant read your mind and Im not going to judge your reasoning, but I want to take the automation out of your day. I want you for at least one moment in my class to actually be present with a question and force yourself to look at it. Then you can go back to deciding what you’re going to have for dinner while Im trying to center the room.

  1. Its not about how the posture looks, but how it feels.

Coming to class to make shapes is like eating Spam off of crystal plates. It might look pretty, but whats the point? Allowing yourself to get to know your body in a way where you can recognize when you’re engaging certain muscles (or not) is an incredible experience. Its like creating a window to your insides and once you learn about one muscle, you can then expand this knowledge quickly into other areas.

  1. Remember to play

Please give yourself some space to explore within your practice. Let yourself off the hook and bring joy into something meant to be joyful. Playing within your practice is when the body will truly open itself up to you and show you its real range.

  1. There are no Yoga Police

They don’t exsist. They will not knock on your door and correct your form or tell you your meditation looks ridiculous. They are not standing there critiquing you. The hard truth is, these so-called ‘Yoga Police’ is your own judgement of yourself. Tell them to take a hike and reread #4.