Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bow to the Instructor Within

Or, I have begun my practice

Last Saturday, I went with my girlfriend to my first Yoga class. It was much more challenging than I thought it would be. I am accustomed to a hard workout in a noisy overbright gym: 40 minutes of cardio, then another 30 or so with the weights. Hard work, burning muscles and a whole lot of sweat! I never did enjoy aerobics class, I prefer the solitary workout.

I must admit, I went into the class a little intimidated. I needn't have been. First of all, the environment itself is just soothing. Soft light, unobtrusive music, gentle voice of the instructor. Oh, and bare feet and candlelight! It is about flow, breathing, balance and a still mind. And I was able to do it! I made the poses, mostly, and held them. It isn't at all easy! My muscles, especially my quads, were screaming, sweat was pouring off of me. I did have a couple of sore muscles a day or two later, but not too many.

I love how yoga is considered a practice, an ongoing experience. Seems a very good metaphor for life. If we keep working at it, we will attain a deeper understanding of it. We will be better able to move from one pose to another, move through life with greater fluidity. We will learn from others the basics, we will learn for ourselves what is comfortable, we will come to understand how to live within ourselves, yet constantly reach deeper. While limbs are reaching outward, the mind focuses inward: Balance.

At the end of the session, the room dimly lit, we returned to our lotus position, held our hands together in prayer, lifted our hearts to our prayer. We were positioned around the room, backs to the wall. We were to bow, not only to the instructor, but the instructor in each one of our classmates for what they offer, and bow to the instructor within. That's what got me. We were to honor ourselves as we honor our instructor. May we always remember to continue the practice, and bow to the instructor within.



David said...

You make yoga sound awesome; so much more than just some breathing and stretching. Two years ago I got a yoga DVD for Christmas and thanks to you it's coming out of the bookcase and going in the DVD player tonight!

rp said...

Thanks! Yoga is awesome! I have not tried a DVD yet, but i did purchase a book of short daily routines to try. I only get to class once a week, and I want to stay in practice. Sunday was a less strenuous workout, and a little disappointing in that I didn't work up the sweat I expected, but she made me STRETCH!!!

David said...

Guess what? I figured out why I didn't stick with the DVD the first time. To get the full benefit I'd really need to join a good class like the one you've found. That's probably not going to happen any time soon.

Uncle Phatato said...

(I've seen your posts on David's site, plus he has a link to your site as well :)

I am a fellow yogi. I've been practicing for about five years. I do strange positions I never dreamed of, plus an old instructor of mine spoke of finding your "dynamic self". My classes were on Thursday nights, so Fridays when I went to my classroom (I'm a middle school teacher) I was always more energetic than the kids. It's a truly amazing practice. Keep it up and you'll love the benefits.

My newest instructor (I have since moved and hadn't taken a class for two years, but practiced on my own) and she has a REALLY heavy accent.

I could write for hours about it...

rp said...

So, I've done the book's Monday routine once or twice. Life got busy! A good friend of mine just tried a different location of our studio with what she called a drill seargent of an instructor. Gotta try her out. Gotta love the variety in NYC!