The inflexible – my guinea pig student

It is very true that doing yoga and teaching yoga are inextricably intertwined. My own experience on yoga mats helps provide insights into how I can share yoga with others i.e. my first guinea pig student, my flatmate. My flatmate is an ultra-marathoner. The race that he trains for is in the range of 100-150km. He also can run a full marathon in less than 2.5 hours…ehem…that’s kind of a superman. My superman wants to start practicing yoga after learning about its benefits and how it can compliment his training for better performance and less injury. But my superman is also very inflexible. He can sit on the floor but cannot bend his legs close even an arm length from the body. The only way he can touch his toes from standing is to bend the knees and lower the body to almost a chair degree. I am a runner myself. As I go through practice, I notice certain poses that are much more difficult for me as my hip and hamstring are very tight. Let’s call this runner problem.  When I teach him certain poses to stretch the muscles, I can see the root cause and what will help. When I try to adjust for him, my own experience comes into handy as I can relate to how he feels and stop pushing as it was my body being adjusted by someone else. After about 3 practices, I can see great improvement and he also feels the difference. My mission for the last 2 weeks in Singapore is to guide him on how to maintain the practice and to make myself a good example for my student by trying sensibly to improve my own constraint – the runner problem. I really enjoy my ‘teaching’ so far as it requires me dig into the need of my ‘student,’ be patient and creative in my approach.

-An-