For many of us, the idea of a ‘complete’ yoga practice may seem like a mystery (at least it was for me).
My initial relationship to yoga began with physical movement, the practice of postures or ‘asana.’ Since taking over five hundred hours of yoga education at Octopus Garden, the depth of yoga that’s present outside of physical movement has become more apparent.
For those that don’t know me, my name is Taryn, and I am the studio co-manager, a practitioner, teacher trainee and now, the humble assistant for Pat’s ‘Complete’ class on Thursday mornings. I’ve coined the ‘complete’ class as your ‘one stop shop for a full practice.’
But what does ‘full’ mean? What does ‘complete’ mean?
On Thursday mornings, we explore breath work (pranayama), chanting, meditation and restorative postures. If I were to consider myself a ‘yoga baby’ in terms of my experience with asana, I am ‘in utero’ with regard to my meditation and restorative practices! This is why assisting such a class presents a challenge!
Can I sit with the room while we explore meditation? Can I be of service to practitioners as they settle in to a deep restorative posture? How can I assist when these aspects of yoga are my own personal edges?
I take a breath, zoom out to the larger picture and realize, we all share these challenges.
Someone’s complete comfort with one aspect of yoga, may be an absolute struggle for another; it’s the diversity presented by each of us that carries this practice and it’s what allows us to be of service to each other.
Zooming out even further, a complete practice happens off the mat and outside of the studio. Can we share our stability with others when we play with our strengths? And can we rely on others when we face challenges?
I like to think that there is an unspoken solidarity amongst the people with which I share this city; I’ve got your back, regardless of whether I’m encouraging an inward curve in your lumbar spine or if you need help navigating the street car schedules.
That’s my humble take on what means to have a ‘complete’ practice—I invite you to attend this class and share your own definition with me.
Written by Taryn Diamond
Taryn has made her way through both the 200-hour fundamentals and 300-hour advanced teacher training at Octopus Garden. She has also been trained in restorative yoga with an emphasis on Ayurvedic principles. She left her work in the activist world with Oxfam Canada to co-manage Octopus Garden and pursue her yoga studies and teaching. Taryn teaches weekly classes at Hart House and at the Engineers Without Borders office.