Yogic physics

I am a great lover of serenity and silence, but there are times when I long to talk back to my yoga instructor.

Now, I hate all the New Agey trappings that the trendy modern brand of hipster yoga is cloaked in, so there are plenty of times during a typical practice where I must simply shut my eyes and tune the chatter out. For me yoga is no more than an effective and agreeable physical exercise, and I would gladly excise the vague mystical overtones and pseudotherapeutic insights that are usually served along with my sixty minutes of physical conditioning. Sometimes it gets to me.

Last week, as we were being goaded to assume a crazy pose where you tip your head back and lose your balance, the instructor embarked on a miniature sermon about fear and letting go: "It's okay if you lose your balance, it's okay if you fall. As children, we weren't afraid to fall. We did it all the time, we loved it. As we got older, something changed, and we became afraid of looking foolish, afraid of losing control. Falling became a shame, an embarrassment. Remember how it used to be when you were a child. Let yourself feel again what it's like not to have that fear."

I had a very strong urge to open my mouth and respond.


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Blogger Lee Kottner:

LOL! I've had the same urge. Not just a lower center of gravity, but the ground got a lot farther away too.

Blogger Rachel:

Ha! Thank you for making me laugh this morning. I have trouble keeping my smart-ass comments to myself in those situations too.

Blogger Witchypoo:

Very true! I love yoga, but im too lazy to do it by myself, yet dont want to go to a class where a) just what you typed about happens, b) i look like a unfit, rigid thing, that just cant bend right, let alone fall!

Blogger Melissa:

Hee, hee, so true!
The instructor on my instructional CD is starting to drive me crazy--apparantly I can only listen to her smug delivery so many times before cracking.

Blogger bluewyvern:

Witchypoo: A is pretty unavoidable, but don't let B hold you back! Most yoga classes are very welcoming and non-judgmental, and you shouldn't have an idea of bending "right" or mirroring some impossible-looking pose -- it's all about creating the right stretches and engaging the right muscle groups, and it can be done no matter how your body moves. Whether you're bending over backwards or just inching over slightly, as long as you reach the point where you're "working" it, feeling the engagement without strain or discomfort, you're doing it right. And if you do it often enough, you'll soon find you can take it even farther. That's one of the things I love about yoga -- that no matter what your body or level of fitness, you can reap the benefits. Give it a try!

Blogger Shay:

heehee this cracked me up. Your blog is always a total pleasure to read.

Anonymous Anonymous:

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog--I've been reading for a while, but I'm terrible at leaving comments. You always find the most interesting things! Thanks so much for sharing them.

Anonymous Anonymous:

I started yoga lessons with a no-nonsense instructor that I loved, in a grimy gym in the basement of the YWCA – no music, no "philosophy", just lots of good advice about how to do yoga. I thought that was what yoga classes were like.

Imagine my horror when my instructor went on maternity leave and was replaced by a woman who brought her boombox so she could could play "spiritual" music for us and talked in a "serene" voice about all the things that were supposedly happening to my invisible humors or whatever.

Worst of all was to discover that almost all yoga instructors seem to do this. I've been to several other classes, and the assumption that yoga must necessarily go hand-in-hand with new age baby-talk and blandest of bland music seems to be how most classes are run. I do my yoga at home now.


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