Someone told me recently that during a class as we were coming into Warrior 2 pose a woman behind them muttered, "Finally, something she didn't make up." I fake laughed.
Do I make shit up? Well, yes and no.
There is a narrative body and breath together want to tell. The variations and sequences that I come up with are just there waiting to be discovered. I didn't invent them. I encourage students in my class to pay attention and think and move mindfully through each transition as they explore new territory. Only it's not brand new, it's like a 2nd or 3rd cousin. There will always be a sense of familiarity because we know the characters of the story well: Our body, our breath and the foundational yoga postures. It's like music. The notes and chords are already established. It's the specific arrangements that make music a song.
I heard a teacher put it so perfectly: "Follow the path of possibility". What could be more freeing and fun that that? There's a door... open it, look in, perhaps walk through.
It's possible the resistance the woman felt was because she had no idea what we were going to do next, which is entirely intentional in my class. If you know what we are doing next, that means some part of you doesn't have to pay attention to what you are doing, whether you've checked out completely or you're thinking about the next pose. And I am NOT bashing forms of yoga that are the same every time. I'm a big fan of repetition and I absolutely see the value in having a set sequence. It's just not the kind of teacher I am. The world needs more people who are TUNED IN not tuning out. Practicing and teaching the way the I do is one way to encourage tuning in, paying attention, and feeling everything.
And speaking of music... Good music always makes me want to MOVE. Whether it be dancing, running or yoga. I was artist in the traditional sense of the words for many years, but yoga has completely taken over. It has become my creative outlet; composing a sea of bodies or my own into a seamless and engaging flow that teaches us while opening and healing. It often gives me goosebumps. Music inspires my home practice and my home practice is often where I discover many of the sequences and shapes I share in class.
Be curious, be playful, be open to trying something out of the box. Just don't get mad at me for making shit up.
Below is a sequence that was 100% inspired by 'Entrance Song' by The Black Angels, unearthed during a home practice. The song came on and this is how my body responded. I put the song on repeat and kept going until I was a sweaty (delicious) mess.