Saturday, October 27, 2007

Yoga To The People

Last night I went to a yoga class for the first time at the yoga-for-everyone studio Yoga To The People. $10 got me a space in the crowded hall for what turned out to be a Power Vinyasa class ala Brian Krest. This meant a lot of extra pushes from chaturanga to plank and a whole slew of ab moves at the end that usually aren’t a part of the vinyasa choreography. (My upper arms are shot, by the way.)

I loved being a part of such a large crowd—there were about 50 of us—and we were scrunched so close together my feet and fingers brushed my neighbors as I moved in and out of poses. He encouraged us to breath loudly, to sigh, to let a big “Ahhhhhh” out as we groaned and moved along our mats. There was something liberating about that release. I'm usually pretty quiet, but last night I found myself moaning as loud as I could with the rest of them. It felt good to let go that way. By the end of class all the windows were steamed up and everybody was drenched in sweat.

I won’t lie: I needed to push out all those bad feelings I’d been having yesterday. Needed to wring myself out like a damp towel, all that angst dripping out pose by pose.

But I have to admit I really missed the spirituality side of it all. I go to yoga for meditation and movement wedded to something higher, a feeling like I’m a part of a tradition and a truth more ancient than myself. I’m not a particularly religious person and I haven’t gone to church since I graduated from my chi-chi religious high school, but yoga has become something half-way between fitness and a sermon for me. And while I enjoyed the YTTP class and will probably go back from time to time (a $10 yoga class in NYC?!), I can’t imagine that type of yoga ever becoming my main focus.

A few oms before we begin moving and a constant focus on the spirit within, on the goal of yoking body to mind, is what I need at this stage in my life in this city in this body.

So: Namaste, y'all.

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Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

i'm so glad you were able to do this and got this effect out of it!

and reading your description of wringing yourself out makes me want to start doing yoga. i think i need that in my life.

my body is a knot of tension and worry... yoga might be just the trick.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Mimi Lenox said...

A special day is coming up on my blog and in the blogosphere. Bloggers are set to blog for peace November 7, 2007.

I invite you to join me - and a cast of incredible bloggers - as we mark our world with a promise of peace. Bloggers from around the world including 30 countries (and counting)and nearly every state in the United States will participate in BlogBlast for Peace.I hope you will participate in this growing phenomenon.
Your blog. One post. One day.
How To Get Your Peace Globe
Thank you,
Mimi Lenox

1:08 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

This is such an amazing post. You were so honest about the class and what it did for you, but also about what yoga gives you on a higher level. I am on a getaway weekend with my best friend and I read it aloud to her, and now we are talking about what yoga means to both of us. It touches the body, the spirit and the soul - and we are so grateful for our practices and what they have brought to our lives. Namaste!

2:18 AM  

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