Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Variations on Awesome Yoga

Yoga can be a very serious business. You know, going inward through the koshas, exploring your edge, not anticipating, aligning your chakras, clearing your mind...it can get a little heavy, right?

I can't say for sure about achieving those ends. They seem to come and go in the most slippery of ways, but the classes that I've been the most fully present for, which is definitely a huge goal of my yoga, are the ones in which I'm having the most fun.

The classes with the most seemingly incongruous music for example, are always the classes that have me laughing through another set of utkatasana (did I just misspell chair pose? Google doesn't even know!) instead of gritting my teeth through one more breath. A great piece of dialog I've heard, and make great use of is, "Don't listen for the word release! Listen for your breath!" That's one way of staying present and in the moment, and believe me, it works, but just having a hell of a time is another way, and I think it works even better.

I was in an advanced class last night, and about 1/3 of the class was poses or variations on poses I had never even seen before. It could have been a really frustrating hour and a half, but we were focusing on shedding what we didn't need in honor of Spring, and an ego trip about being able to do everything right because I'm a yoga instructor is something I've never needed. You've got to be able to play a little bit, right? I just put myself out there, and sometimes I fell, and sometimes I amazed myself. I haven't involuntarily smiled during chaturanga (that's that glorious trip from plank pose, lowering half-way down, and pulling the heart forward into full upward-facing dog, and then pressing back to down-dog) in a long, long time.

The lesson for the yogi, and the five-year-old, in all of us is, good yoga doesn't have to be hard work, and fun doesn't have to be pointless.

Happy Spring. Live it Omily!
~em

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