What is PACE Yoga?
We live and teach better when we embody these 8 principles - Playfulness and Purpose, Acceptance and Alignment, Curiosity and Connection, Empathy and Education
Read on for the benefits of each one, on and off the mat
The benefits of PACE Principles:
Purpose: Know what your values and goals, and live in alignment with them. A sense of purpose may counter the negative effects of cortisol (the stress hormone) and repair the immune system by calming the heart rate and lowering blood sugar. On the mat, choose a goal (teaching point, theme, peak pose) and let every part of your practice align with this goal. Then we embody purpose, and can reap the rewards.
“Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” ― Rumi
Playfulness: The balance to Purpose, the joy (sukha) in the journey, the ease within the effort.
Play has been shown to relieve stress, improve brain function, boost creativity, increase and improve connections with others, increase energy, and heal emotional wounds. We remember that failures are simply lessons, and to attach to the effort, not just the outcome
"Sthira sukham asanam"- move through our lives with steadiness (sthira) and ease (sukha) - Patanjali Sutra 2.46
Acceptance: Acknowledge what is, without resisting or denying it. We accept the light, and the dark, because wasting energy denying reality makes no sense. We cannot change all situations, but we can change our reaction to them. This is how we build resilience and create a life of peace. When you accept how your body and mind are when you get on the mat, you can modify your practice to suit you in that moment, and so get much more out of it. Be true to you, and you will become all you are meant to be
"Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can’t argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer."
Alignment: Fall in love with the tiny details of life, by bringing greater awareness to the
body. Connect the body and mind fully, and help yourself be present. Physically, alignment reduces the risk of injury, increases biomechanical efficiency, and conserves energy. It opens energy channels, and is really where the magic of asana happens. Learning alignment for your body feels empowering and freeing, and elevates your practice beautifully
“It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self, and intelligence.” B.K:S. Iyengar
Curiosity: Be a scientist of your own body and mind. Live fearlessly and without fear of failure, because life is a glorious experiment. Let go of expectations and pressures and be more at peace with yourself and others. Our brains release dopamine and other good-feeling hormones when we encounter new things, so the more curious we are, the more we wish to learn, the better we feel. On the mat, we get curious to get creative. What happens if (e.g. - we turn sideways instead)?
"Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are" ― Jason Crandell
Connection: Social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems. The word Yoga means 'to yoke' - to cultivate the natural union/connection within ourselves so that we find peace and bliss. Connecting to self is shifting the focus from what is happening externally, to a connection within. The power of shifting the focus to self is the deep connection of self-love and acceptance. By connecting with the self, you can learn to take loving care of yourself and share that joy and love with others.
“Our ancient experience confirms at every point that everything is linked together, everything is inseparable.” – 14th Dalai Lama
Empathy: Empathy is the ability to identify, understand and share in the feelings of another person. Unlike pity, which infers a sense of judgement, empathy is about non-judgement. To be truly empathetic we must cultivate the ability to step down and meet someone wherever they are at.
Aside from the fact that having greater empathy benefits those around us, the roll-on effect is a practice that is profoundly good for us. Research suggests that being more empathetic can improve relationships, creative productivity, and overall health & wellbeing.
"Empathy is communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’" – Brene Brown.
Education: A purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. There's a difference between education and indoctrination, so we educate with critical thinking (like a scientist, with curiosity). It benefits us in 2 ways - sharing wisdom gives us a sense of accomplishment and connection. We feel like we’re a part of something larger than ourselves, and that connection and belonging ground us into the truth of who we all are - unified and whole. It also benefits us by cementing our wisdom in ourselves - to teach it, you must really know it.
"What we get out of the privilege of teaching is the opportunity to focus on our own personal development. You can be of service, and, while helping others transform their lives, you have the deeper opportunity to transform your own. " ~ James Fox
How do we put PACE into a yoga class?
Sequence with purpose - for a feeling, peak pose, theme etc.
Let students experience Sukha - “good, joyful, happy, light”, aka, playfulness
Highlight acceptance of self and others and find student’s edge, not going past it or comparing
Focus on alignment with clear cues and compassionate assists
Ask students to be curious and explore their own bodies and mental states - “what happens when you put the weight to the big toe more? What happens if this time you step instead of jump?”
Synchronised movements and breath connect not just body to mind but students to each other
Be empathetic to yourself and extend that empathy when you hold the space for the class. Be mindful of your language, voice, assists and cues
Have a teaching point (what do you want them to learn?) and encourage students to explore this point to educate and empower them.
Are you ready to transform? Join me on the journey of a lifetime as you ground yourself in the roots of Yoga. Grow into your true self as you learn to embody the PACE Principles, and so move through life with grace, on and off the mat
200hr Yoga Teacher Training September-December 2023, Live Online and In-Person in Portugal