An Interview with John Cottrell. At Fallout Yoga, there’s a very special class taught on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It’s called Soft Flow, and it might just change your life. One of the teachers, John Cottrell, has been practicing yoga for about 16 years, and teaching for nearly as long.
Talking about how he got started with yoga, John says, “About 16 years ago, I was working in a gym and teaching some fitness classes. They started offering power yoga, so I decided to take it. And I loved it. I started practicing regularly, and a couple of years later, I was certified as an instructor and started teaching at that same little gym. Ever since then, I’ve thought of myself as having a teaching practice. I’m continually evolving as an instructor, learning more about myself and about yoga, going to trainings, learning from other instructors, and looking for ways to improve.”
Speaking about his Soft Flow class, John says, “Whether you’re just getting started with yoga or you’re looking to take your power classes to the next level, this class can help to deepen your practice, increase your range of motion, and help you build strength.”
John thinks that the class can be especially helpful for yogis with stiffer bodies who want to improve their overall sense of health and wellbeing. “Some of the folks that come are a little bit older and have felt that they weren’t very strong or flexible. They wanted to regain that. I’ve watched them over the years, and they’ve steadily become stronger. Now, I’m watching them flow with ease and grace from one pose to another. They’re holding poses that they were literally falling out of before.”
If you’re the type of person who normally attends power classes, Soft Flow can help you too. While holding each pose for a longer period of time, you’ll increase your muscular strength and have more time to focus on alignment. This, in turn, will make you better able to tackle a faster-moving class where you pass through poses more quickly.
After one class, John remembers a student approaching him to tell him how helpful the class had been. The student had been taking regular power classes, but didn’t realize that he hadn’t mastered downward dog. Speaking to others who might find themselves in a similar position, John says that Soft Flow can help you become more aware of your body and make adjustments that will benefit you in every other yoga class you take.
Regardless of the reasons for attendance, John wants his students to be successful and benefit from his classes. “If you’re coming for an hour or so, you’re taking your time to be here. I have an obligation, as an instructor, to make the best use of your time. I want to show you something that you can use, and that’s going to be beneficial to you, whether that’s physically, mentally, or emotionally.”
If you show up for John’s Soft Flow class on a Tuesday morning, you’ll use a variety of different props, you’ll flow through poses more slowly than a regular class, and you’ll become more aware of how your body moves in transition. Each time you come, you’ll find that the beginning sequence is always the same. According to John, this is what helps students get stronger. In the second half of the class, you’ll get to work on a featured pose – whether it’s a backbend, a balancing pose, or a strengthening posture. Throughout the class, John breaks down each position while encouraging modifications and variations.
“I might show you the yoga-journal-picture-posture with perfect lines and all of that stuff. But, you don’t have to do that today. You can bend your knees, for example, in boat pose. You can set your feet on the floor and lift yourself up, so that you have an extended spine. You can do anything that’s going to help you develop strength, and then build your way up.”
Ultimately, with Soft Flow, the benefits are bigger than you might think. Whether you want to build strength, deepen your practice, or just feel better, Soft Flow will help you to accomplish these goals and more. If you’re thinking about branching out and trying something new, Soft Flow could be exactly what you need to move forward in life with greater strength, clarity, and grace.