Methodology and Philosophy behind SmartFlow yoga and why I’ve choosen to teach this yoga.
Somebody once asked my teacher what is SmartFLOW yoga, she answered: If Iyengar yoga and Vinyasa yoga had a baby, it would be SmartFLOW (Yes we do use props!! and we love it) . I always smile when I think about it.
The philosophy of SmartFlow is based on the fact that every living being is unique and because of this, every aspect of yoga practice is presented as an inquiry, so the practice allows each of us to ask questions to self without any excpectations for outcome.
Every practitioners is in a state of observation of itself.
We, as yoga teachers, always ask our students not to look at what their neighbors are doing since every body is different, and they should only care about their own practice. SmartFlow yoga really emphasizes that, and encourages every students to experience her full potential, and to be connected to her practice.
The philosophy of SmartFlow is to allow any practitioner to understand the language of the body and to recognize the meaning of any sensation it creates.
It allows them to communicate with their body and to accept it as it is. It also helps bringing their mind to stillness by focusing on their practice.
Most of the time this will lead the students to a deeper practice of yoga, meaning they will start to apply (or at least have an interest in) the other limbs of yoga.
Understanding the language of our own body allows us to avoid injuries. It’s important to know its boundaries, know when we have to soften and rest or, may be know when we need to be more present. In SmartFlow classes acceptance is always encouraged, acceptance toward what is and what is not today. The student is always aware that every day is different and that what is happening or not happening today might be different tomorrow.
This state of mind allows us to honor the present moment.
By this practice of inquiry SmartFlow embraces all type of yogis.
What makes it easy to celebrate the fact that every human being is individual is the (shall I say it ?) smart methodology of SmartFlow. Instead of giving rigid one size fits all cues, the sequences are created through the lens of Movement Principles, which allows to understand asanas through lines of motion.
Instructing asanas this way avoids the implication that they should look a specific way, it’s quite the opposite, it allows to create an atmosphere of exploration and inquiry.
The student is given a clear and specific movement that has a direction toward an asana and a clear route that leads her back to center.
There is a full expression of effort and a return to center.
Everybody has, because of this mechanism, a safe practice that creates spaciousness and stability in the joints. It allow the breath and prana to flow clearly.
The movement principle mechanism is the exploration of the direction that each asana moves us away from the center aka Tadasana, mountain pose.
By understanding the movement, the effort, that takes us away from center and how to return to center, we can create balanced transitions into and out of each pose, and everybody can create its own full expressionof the pose.
This mechanism allows the student to know herself, and that’s one of the goal of yoga to my humble opinion.
I have chosen to teach this style of yoga because of this. I want to teach my students how to be aware of their body, to get to know their body and accept it as it is.
In our civilization we are obsessed with our apparence and therefore we are obsessed with how our body looks like, but we are incapable of communicating with it.
We are incapable of travelling into the Self.
The practice of SmartFlow allowed me to feel parts of my body very clearly and therefore helped me to move more precisely into the asanas, without the risk of injuries, and that’s exactly what I wish for my students.
I’ve met SmartFlow yoga at a hard time of my life and It has also drove me to do some Introspection and to be more opened to meditation, it helped me to control my breathing during practice which was very hard for me.
All that benefits I got, I want to share them with my students, that’s the reasons why I want to teach this specific practice. I have experienced it, I know it works and it’s worth sharing !
It took me a little bit more than 2 years to get my certification, I could have just participated to the training, but being able to call my class SmartFLOW is a plus. Yoga practitioners know the seriousness of Annie’s teaching, and I benefit from that.
(Although beware SmartFLOW classes are given by yoga teachers certified by Annie Carpenter, and implies that this teacher has at least 500h of teacher training with at least 300h in SmartFLOW yoga, the title is SmartFLOW, do not mistake that with Smart yoga, smart vinyasa or other similar designations.)