A Tale of Two Yogas

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My wife and I attend a small studio up the street.  She has deep knowledge of musculature.  The poses are gentle, our progress slow, in a cozy, comfortable environment.

Across the street is a bustling studio with 4 large rooms, the coolest one being 30 degrees centigrade (85F).  Some classes go up as high as 40C (105F).  That’s hot.

When I say bustling, I mean bustling.  Not like wearing a bustle, but like being super busy.  Which is pretty good for our small town.  There’s over 15 classes a day!  And the classes have all the latest trends, bikram, barre, and whatever.

Not only that, but the classes are an hour long.  Perfect for scheduling into your busy day.

Meanwhile, in our little space, you spend the first half hour getting warmed up, the next getting into the practice, and another one figuring it all out and cooling down.

Cooling down.  That’s important.  You can’t do that in heat.  In order to listen to your body properly, you have to let it speak to you.  That’s not going to happen in an extreme environment.  Your body is working to keep you cool, and that throws all your inner workings out of wack.  Sure, you feel better, for the moment, but what did you learn?

A good yoga class is a true class.  You will come away with a nugget of knowledge, a new insight into yourself.

The trend towards fast, hot, trendy yoga is surely a money maker for the studio.  But what does it lead towards?

Students who want hotter, faster, trendier solutions to their problems.

The ultimate?

I see a drive-thru studio that offers a quick yoga drink and a semi-mystic experience while you sit in your car.  Perhaps like the drive-in diners of the 1950s.  Scantily clad roller skating yogis will bring everything to you and your friends as you sit in the comfort of your SUV.

Or you could slow down, and get to know yourself.  Not trendy, not hot, not even hard.  Just right.  Just perfect.

But if you’re planning to make it to 70, 80, or 90, you’ll appreciate it.

Otherwise, you’ll be taking plenty of pills.

Ommm.

 

Perfect Yoga Practice

My buddy tried yoga once, saying it was too hard.

I can imagine what happened.  Surrounded by nubile beauties, mostly women.  Bending like willows to the strains of music involving drums, harps, chanting.  Moving fast, yoga pants and tight shirts leaving little to the imagination, each breath bringing a whole new pose.

How can anyone meet these kind of expectations?

Most of us can’t.  That’s the whole point of American McYoga.

Here’s their sales message:

  • You have to work like this instructor to become as beautiful as they are.
  • You know you get your money’s worth because you
    • sweat,
    • are in pain, and
    • because you can’t do it right.

 

Guess what?  You CAN do it right, because there’s a secret they aren’t telling you.

There is no WRONG.  Whatever way you can move, that’s YOUR way.

That beautiful instructor?  That’s his way.

Raise your arms.  Lower your torso.  Twist those abs.  Do it your way.

I found this yogi, Mark Whitwell, and this particular video of his says it best.  Go to the 1:00 minute mark.

Whatever you do is right for you.  Learning to put your heart, your breath, your body and your movement together is what yoga is all about.

That instructor trying to cook you in that hot room?  They are trying to stuff you into a one-size-fits-all shoe.

Ouch!

Find yourself an instructor who lets you wear the shoe you want, the way you want.  Your movement, your breath, your body, it’s all about you.

Yoga is you.  The strange thing about this selfish exercise is that the more you do it, the more you become in tune with others.

I can’t explain it here, there’s no time, no room.  But if you’re one of those who have tried yoga and ran away, or are intimidated by fancy pantsy instructors, think again.

It’s ALL about you.  Forget the others, move the way your body lets you move.

Once you start moving, you’ll notice things, and you’ll start improving.

But, being a yogi, you’ll already know this basic fact.

You’re already perfect.  So practice your perfection.

Ommm.