I’ve been working for years with my good friends, Strala founders Tara Stiles and Mike Taylor, to develop and refine ways to use touch while guiding yoga classes. While taking my first few yoga classes with them I immediately understood that Tara and Mike had independently evolved and were applying some of the same principles so effective in shiatsu, to practicing and teaching yoga. Maybe great minds think alike!
It’s a way of moving and being that transcends the conceptual rigidity of most ‘traditional’ yoga styles, and, I think, is profoundly redefining the understanding of what yoga is. It creates a practice that can radiate outwards into every aspect of our lives.
Using touch to support, encourage, and inform is a powerful, effective way to create a dynamic relationship between teacher and student. It’s an extension of how we use our eyes, ears, voice, and movement when teaching anything: naturally, intuitively.
You’re just being yourself, not performing, and therefore teaching by doing and being, by example. We don’t need to manipulate, adjust, correct, or fix people – simply connect. It’s easy, it works, and has the benefit of avoiding the possibility of injury. And, yes, we need to practice to get really good at this.
It’s exciting to see people practice yoga, understanding that the purpose of what they’re doing is not to demonstrate a posture, achieve an outside idea of alignment, or look good, but to feel great and become capable of moving easily toward goals, without stress and unnecessary effort. And these are the same principles we’ll be applying to shiatsu practice.