You are unique. That is nothing new, but the implications of this statement are vast. You are unique and therefore, what works for you, what suits your body (your biology) will be different from what works for other people. Your history (your biography) is uniquely yours. When you consider both your biology and your biography – the raw materials that made you and the forces that shaped you – its not surprising to find that your needs differ considerably from everyone else’s. Your eye glass prescription, your shoe size, the position of your drivers seat in the car, which hand you use to write and throw, the way your lips curl when you smile, the curve of your spine and the arches of your feet-all these little and grand variations make you uniquely you.
So why do we default to a belief that we are all the same inside? Why do we believe that there is one and only one way to do a yoga posture, that there is one “right” way for everybody? Why do we believe that alignment cues are universal and that people should move their bodies the same way?
In the whole universe, there is no one like you. You are not “average”, normal or regular. You may share a few similar traits with other people; you may wear a medium sized shirt like millions of others, your shoe size may be the same as your sibling’s; you are made up of identically shaped protons, neutrons and electrons, as is everyone you know. But when you examine the whole of who you are, the ways these particular parts come together to form a “you” you are totally and indisputably unique!
The nature of human variation has been largely ignored in both medicine and the fitness world (including the yoga industry) – therefore it is much more important to know what kind of person is doing the yoga pose as oppose to what sort of pose is doing the person?
Postures should be dynamic living things, because what’s right for somebody is wrong for somebody else. So whether its downward dog, lotus, head stand or whatever, we want to reach out of the box (safely) to find what suits our own body shape in all its unique proportion and glory.
As a yoga teacher, I often see and hear students comparing themselves or saying things like “I’m not flexible enough for …. pose” when really, due to their anatomy they were born with they may never be able to get to the range of a certain posture like someone else in the class can and vice versa. Play around with the poses, use props, enjoy your practice, immerse yourself in the discovery of you!
All variations are legal – show yourself self love and compassion with each and every breath and ultimately… love those lovely bones….. As the famous saying goes “Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self”
Check out world famous yoga teacher Paul Grilleys weblink below to see the difference in human bone shape/size..