There has been a strengthening trend among some Yoga practitioners toward eliminating the postures that don’t have much functional significance in our lives and adding movement that has functional application for daily living—even if those new poses aren’t (gasp!) “official” Yoga moves.

I fully embrace that trend.

Why spend time in class perfecting acrobatic Yoga poses with little or no influence on your abiilty to walk, play catch with the dog, spend hours in your car or at your desk, enjoy leisure time, clean the house, or pick up nine million tiny Lego pieces off the playroom floor? We should not be striving to hold a Triangle pose that could allow our bodies to fit “between two panes of glass,” as many Yoga teachers instruct. We’re not supposed to fit between behind glass. We’re supposed to honor the curves in our body, the structure of our pelvis and spine, our restrictions and flexibility.

As Yoga anatomy specialist Leslie Kaminoff says, we only need to be as flexible as necessary to comfortably live our lives. I would add that we also only need to be as strong, open, stable, calm, hard or soft as is necessary for a comfortable life.

To hell with the three-hour “hip opening” workshops that leave you in a puddle on the studio floor. You’re not supposed to have liquid hips because liquid hips can’t support you. These workshops represent a lack of stability and an ethos of over-stretching that are promoting injuries among longtime Yogis. And let’s give up already on the constant Chaturangas (high-to-low-plank transition) and the 108 Sun Salutations. That. Is. Too. Many.

Let’s stop hurting and pushing and fighting our bodies and start exploring our edges–learning where our imbalances lie, where we need to be stronger and where we need to be softer. It’s all about living a healthier, happier life. I can easily can be happy and healthy without doing enough Sun Salutations to make myself vomit. So can you.

If you’d like to explore Functional Yoga Therapy with me, sign up for a class or private session. 

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