Is It OK To Wear Shoes for Counter Stretch?

These are adorable, but you'll have to take them off for Counter Stretch!

After one of my classes, a student asked the question, “I was gardening the other night and really wanted to do Counter Stretch. Is it ok to wear shoes for Counter Stretch?”. My reply was, “Well, if you are in class or practicing a personal practice sequence at home, then you want to be bare footed so that you get the feedback from your feet being directly on the ground. But, if you’re out in the garden or at work at a desk and need a break, then I think it would be an excellent idea to get up and practice Counter Stretch (Ardha Uttanasana), plus some shoulder openers, even if it’s not practical to take your shoes off in that moment”.

For my blog post on the topic, I would expand that to say, unless your shoes have very high heels, wide platforms or other features that would compromise your balance. Those you have to take off … but I’m guessing if you are contemplating a Counter Stretch break, you probably won’t object to taking the stilettos off for a moment or two!

If you are wondering “What is Ardha Uttanasana?”, please stay tuned for the Cascade Yoga Asana Glossary!

Starting A Yoga Practice Myth: I’m Not Flexible

Yoga Myth: I'm Not Flexible!

Yes, and that’s exactly why you should come to a beginning yoga class!

There is a common misconception that yoga is just advanced poses for those who are already flexible.

But yoga is for everyone! There many beginning and restorative poses to remove stiffness and pain and build strength, flexibility and proper breathing for everyone.

In the Iyengar Method, especially, we choose poses for beginner classes that are accessible to everyone, no matter how stiff you are. And, a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher will know how to modify any beginner poses for you, if needed.

If you have range of motion issues, you should check with your health care practitioner before starting a yoga class and then arrive early to your first class and let the teacher know about your concerns.

Starting a Yoga Practice Myth: Everyone Will Be Watching Me

Yoga Myth Buster: Everyone Will Be Watching Me

I know it may seem that way whenever you try something new, but please be assured that if everyone is watching anyone one person, it is going to be the teacher!

If you are nervous about your first yoga class, my suggestion is to arrive early so that you can get settled in, meet the teacher and pick a spot in the studio where you can see the teacher but not feel “exposed” as a new student.

If you are not sure where to set up your mat to accomplish that, ask the teacher.

Ignore the man at the top of this post! THIS is what a yoga class looks like:

Yoga Class: Eyes on the Teacher

… See? Everyone is watching the teacher!