When are 5 breaths really just 5 breaths?

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Hello Everyone!

This is a blog that my dear friend Ellen wrote and I felt it was quite appropriate for the first blog entry at SSYS! Ellen was probably the most influential of all of my teachers – from helping me develop that “yoga voice” (especially when I am taking you out of savasana) to picking up the props and putting them away for you. I have learned so so much from Ellen and miss her as well as Yoga Madre. Enjoy!

This is a blog all about the caring community that makes up my yoga classes each and every week in and around the San Gabriel Valley area. I hope to feature overviews of the classes I have taught during the week, along with links and cool resources about issues that have come up in our groups.
Namaste,
Ellen Mathews
** To follow Ellen please see: http://yogawithellenmathews.blogspot.com/

When are 5 breaths really just 5 breaths?

I admit it.  Often when I say take 5 breaths in down dog, it really stretches out into 8, 9.  Who knows?

As I look around the room during the poses, some students need to be adjusted, and others need encouragement, and sometimes 5 breaths turn into 8 or 9.  This confession came to the fore yesterday on Thanksgiving.  After teaching at Yoga Madre, while saying goodbyes in the lobby, Ken, a dedicated yogi, mentioned how gentle and kind I sound in class and then keep them in excruciating poses FOREVER!  Okay, that is not be his exact quote, but you get the picture.

I cop to all of this.  In fact, I shared with my lovely, dedicated Thanksgiving students that Martin, my husband, has rightly accused me of the very same transgression.  Once, while in my class at Yoga Madre, he noted that my 5 breaths in dog stretched out interminably.  He battled with his desire to yell out “this is madness…I am going for the door, who’s with me?” and stage a mutiny.  Thankfully he didn’t do it, but I got the point.

Another admission is that I once exclaimed something similar to Martin’s call for mutiny.  While taking a class from the wonderful Erik Rieder, my colleague and friend, he had us in warrior 1 for what felt like forever.  I finally blurted out something like, “Come on man!”  I regretted it immediately and felt embarrassed.  It just came out!  We all had a laugh about it, though.

Seriously speaking folks, if any pose feels too long or inappropriate for your body, seek rest in child’s pose or modify the pose that you’re in.  Always remember to stay safe, connected to how you feel in the pose as so to never hurt yourself.  Playing your edge and exerting the body is different than causing an injury.  Your yoga practice is always an individual experience and you are, no matter what I or any other teacher say, your best teacher.

In closing, I have been accused of liking “bed of nails” style yoga, but I realize that this stuff is not for everyone.  When I do lose track of time and breaths, I do apologize to those who suffer.  To all students, past and future, I apologize for those times when 5 breaths are not 5 breaths…Namaste and see you in class.

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