One Way to Think About Yoga

A Teacher’s Perspective by Jane Allen

Jane teaches RussaYog gentle stretch as well as ‘regular’ classes.

Sometimes people are concerned that RussaYog is new, and thus not “real” yoga.  I think of the human body as notes of music, and yoga is the music genre, like classical or jazz.  Jasprit is the composer of RussaYog.  Iyengar is the composer of Iyengar yoga.  Not all people love jazz, just as people will have personal opinions about types of yoga.  There isn’t a “true” yoga, but the best yoga is the yoga you like, that makes you feel good, whatever the name, and whoever the composer may be.


Becoming Fit: Whether for the first time, or after a break

My advice: Take the long view; you need regular exercise forever.  There is no end.  Because of this, don’t be in a hurry–that’s how you get hurt.  Start out very, very slowly.  If you have any old injuries that you are attempting to repair, think how long it took to acquire that injury, and assume it will take at least 10% of that time to repair it.  I had an old shoulder injury and it took one year of RussaYog to stretch out the scar tissue.  However, it took me 23 years to acquire it, carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, so that seems reasonable.  We are all inclined to expect instant results, but that is not reasonable, and it can discourage you from the vast healing that can occur.


Gentle class vs regular one-hour class

The gentle class is very similar to a regular one hour class, but it is 15 minutes shorter, and that alone makes it less demanding.  We also move at a somewhat slower pace, and I try to offer modifications for many poses, and explain how to do them in more detail.  Otherwise, the gentle class is really not much different from a regular class.  One of the beauties of RussaYog is that a beginner can happily challenge themselves along with more experienced people in the same class, because this yoga is infinitely variable, and can be adjusted to each person’s needs.


RussaYog as part of your fitness tapestry.

The best exercise is something you like to do.  Many of our regular yogis use RussaYog as part of a fitness tapestry, which includes running, spinning, or playing a sport.  We all need an exercise routine, and the more you can build it into your regular life, the easier it will be to overcome the real obstacles–the endless pull of life events that make it difficult to come to class.  That is the hardest part.  Once you arrive at class, the hard part is over, and the fun begins.


1 Comment

  1. danielle korneliussen says:

    Jane, this was so great!
    I really appreciated the way you likened the various types of yoga to music and composition. This will give people who may be new to yoga a rather refreshing way of thinking about it all. The key to “success” with yoga is definately the take-it-slowly-day-by-day approach. Those of us who have been doing yoga for over 30 years gain greater insight to why this will always remain true as we have all seen the unfortunate results of going at asans with haste and lack of inner focus.
    Thanks for this good letter… It really makes me miss our time at Russayog in both Ann Arbor as well as Santa Barbara… Not to mention your classses specifically!

    xoxoxo Danielle Korneliussen xoxoxo

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