Entering the “New”

Last October one of the participants from overseas asked me “How was your Yoga teaching journey?”. Spontaneously I answered “before I came to know Critical Alignment, I did not know what I was doing.”

Deep inside, I knew Yoga has its loopholes. I know Yoga Asanas has its benefits of gaining more strength and flexibility but still I was discontented with the conventional Yoga practice and in my teaching. My practice path was not satisfying for me as there was many questions marks always left unanswered.

Instead of wanting a new car, a new piece of antique, a law degree like the many things that people pursue, Yoga practitioners have allowed the practice to be an attempt to pursue other form of greed in life. We think “If only I can do the pose like her”, “If only I have longer arms”, “If only I can have a stronger core”. It is always “If only I were different from how I am now, then I’ll be happy”. The truth is that I want to see the possible changes in my practice so that real freedom at least in the body could truly manifest.

Before I came to know Gert’s work in CAT and CAY, I was just repeating traditions, following trends and new styles which claim eternal heaven. To sustain the numbers in my class, I have to attend more and more Yoga workshops and training in order to collect tons and tons of ideas on how to implement new postures or new moves in the classes so that I could impress my students and keep them entertained.

I was only introduced to Critical Alignment method not more than 2 years ago. My knowledge and practice in CAT is now still in its infancy. Still so much to learn and understand from this technique. For  Yoga teachers, choosing Critical Alignment is not an easy road especially in the beginning because many people reject the confrontation with their own limitations stiffness, restrictions and tensions.

In reality, most people does not want to confront changes and thus reject new experience. Initially, many of my students back off when I started introducing the Critical Alignment props and techniques. The props and the techniques work together in breaking habitual movement patterns and therefore there is hardly any escape for seeing your own imperfection.

CAT forces us into a face to face confrontation with ourselves which most of the times are not a pleasant experience and in total opposite of what people normally feel during Yoga Asanas. In general, Yoga students are very attached to their preferences and when people walk into a Yoga class, they are buying your ideas of getting a good stretch and creative workout flow.

My perfect partner in CAT/Y, Mei Leng once said, “if there are 10 students in your class, 12 will reject it because out of the 10 some will tell others not to come”. Yes, the numbers are depressing at first but because the technique is so truthful to your body, I noticed that people somehow do return. All my students who rejected the practice came back with much more enthusiasm and appreciation.

In mastering the skills to teach a Critical Alignment class, there is finally a stop in my external search. Recently, I got rid of my tons and tons of new Yoga ideas. I do not need those ideas because from an entertainer I transformed myself into a real Yoga Teacher. Every class means an opportunity for me to communicate directly to bones free from interference of the thinking brain which are driven by ego, ambition and willpower. The beauty of practicing Yoga in the Critical Alignment way is that the experience is real and your bones know although your thinking brain may reject it instantaneously.

It has been nearly 2 years now, everyone came to my class because of this wonderful techniques and even the person whom I least expect to appreciate this technique wrote the message to me because in Yoga, reality and the truth prevail.