What Yoga is REALLY about…
I have to agree with Devante. Brenna’s Saturday night yoga class at Open Door Yoga in Kitsilano is definitely one of my favorite yoga classes in the city.
I’m a bit worried about saying this now though… I don’t want so many people to start flocking to her classes that it changes them. The thing about a Brenna yoga class is that it simply is what it is. I love that the classes are uncrowded and unpretentious. It’s not yoga, the trend. It’s yoga in its simplest, purest form. It’s about being in the moment, embracing the moment.
Basically, the best thing about Brenna’s class is what it is not. Brenna’s yoga class is not about trying too hard. It is not about trying to be perfect.
We’ve been to a lot of yoga classes in Vancouver and far too many where the instructor has been beyond obsessed with form. While most instructors say that yoga is an individual journey, and that yoga is for every body, few instructors truly embrace this concept. So many yoga instructors try to define your yoga practice for you. They say they are yogis or yoginis, but they are quite often simply athletes who merely practice yoga. Instead of embracing yoga, they seek to master it, focusing on its form and technique. They push. They correct. They are forever moving around the room, perfecting movements and postures. They tell you how to get the most out of your journey rather than to embrace it. “You need to stretch this way. Or do this. Or put your hand here.”
Is that really how to get the most out of my yoga experience? What about yoga being a personal journey? Don’t I know my body better than anyone else? So long as I am guided through the posture verbally by the teacher, with any safety considerations pointed out, I should be able to take my body to its personal sweet spot during that class. Whatever I can do and feel in that moment is what I can feel and do in that moment. Nothing more, nothing less. That is, after all, the beauty of yoga. It’s all about feeling the moment, seeing where I can go in that moment.
So excuse me if I don’t want to be taken out of my moment by someone else hovering over me, defining my moment for me, telling me how to feel it. It throws me off focus, gosh dang it! Seriously. Unless there’s a safety concern in the way I’m doing my posture, please just leave me to my moment. And a good teacher knows this.
Besides, while everyone is on an individual yoga journey, isn’t the idea of practicing yoga in a class about sharing in a yoga practice? So what does it say when the class teacher doesn’t share in the moment?
So, props to you Brenna Coupland for actually embracing the very essence of yoga. Your classes are what yoga is really all about…
P.S. — We did a bit of investigating and Brenna teaches a few weekly classes at Yogacara in Kitsilano as well. She also calls herself the Yoga Bee and has a blog and youtube channel…
(Stay tuned — next week we’ll blog about Vancouver’s best yoga instructors. Besides Brenna, there are a few worthy of mention here).