Sunday, July 28, 2013

Definitely a Stretch

It was definitely a stretch (of my interests) to attend a Power yoga class in Santa Monica. I knew the class would not be paced or styled to my preferences, but it was the studio my friend had enthusiastically chosen for us. Keeping an open mind came in handy while the studio filled up with the latest yoga fashions and serious looking faces. A woman in the bathroom was using large handfuls of paper towels just to open the door and avoid contamination. I thought about waste and wondered if I was doing that with my time. I made a silent vow that I would not do anything injurious for the sake of keeping up.
The studio described in "Oasis" blog post
To my delight, the class began with a lengthy child's pose. Ahhh. Worries about what may or may not happen in class washed away. Only the feeling of my forehead touching the floor seemed to matter. We moved into Sunbird, and after that, it was all vigorous flow for another 85 transformational minutes. No, this was not my usual way of practicing. Yet, I found the entire class to be beneficial and exactly what I needed that day. I had to redirect my focus a few times to include only my experience, not the woman on my left who might be throwing her knee out trying to keep up. One man rolled up his mat and left shortly after class began. I felt relieved by his brave act. Sometimes getting out of what feels like a dangerous or unhelpful situation is the best possible answer. That man was practicing yoga by choosing to leave. I hoped that everyone there had the wisdom needed to make it through safely and honorably. Then, I let go of my distracted concern for others in order to stay present for myself. If we can not mind our own selves, what makes us think we can skillfully mind other people anyway?

The yamas and niyamas emphasize being truthful not only to others, but to ourselves. Truthful about what feels right and what doesn't. They also emphasize non-possessiveness. There were a few moments when I wanted to execute a complicated pose just to have it and "prove" myself. Fortunately, inner wisdom directed me towards surrendering ego and excess. Life, like a power yoga class, sometimes hands us things we couldn't have thought of for ourselves! We have a chance to creatively stretch in every situation that rolls our way.

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