Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Yoga in a Pagoda
Everyone has their practice. With practice, comes a routine. We find what works, and with a little discipline and focus, we glide into a flow. I've come to realize that when I switch up the routine, I gain some perspective. I think: oh, I didn't know THIS would work for me. THIS feels so good!
For example, I was in Napa this weekend. Last week, I really struggled with my yoga practice. I had no desire to go to class. My back ached. The weather was gloomy so in the mornings I preferred hanging out in my robe with coffee to dragging my body into a yoga studio (you know something's up when you feel that going to class is a drag). It's in moments like these that you wonder: will it ever be like it once was?
Needless to say, I was in desperate need of a class (or two). I needed something to shake up my old routine. I needed to connect again. Luckily, our hotel had complimentary yoga classes in the morning. I needed to stretch, to move, to flow. Hotel yoga could work.
Little did I know it would be in a pagoda:
In the quiet forest of trees:
Little did I know that it would be the instructor, only one other person and me:
(insert 3 yogis into photo :)
The class was perfectly different in all the right ways. We didn't repeat poses and we didn't flow to the point of sweating (which is the opposite of what I'm used to. Most classes, it's like I'm swimming in a pool of sweat). We said good morning to the sun and opened our hearts to the world. It was so cleansing.
However, when the instructor suggested partner yoga, I scoffed inside. Not my favorite thing. However, what do I know about what I like and don't like? This was a 'heart opening' partner yoga, so it needed a chance. One of us sat back in child's pose, while the other lay on top the other, back to back. The one in child's held the other yogi's hands, gently pulling their arms in the direction of the earth. Heart-opening, mind-opening. We breathed together and it was amazing. See, what did I know?
The instructor also took us through this one standing sequence that really resonated with me. Basically, we began at the back of the pagoda. Having already cleared a straight and empty path, we slowly (as if through lava) traveled across the room transitioning between various leg balances, standing upright on one leg on the inhale and moving into Warrior 3 on the exhale. As we moved through these postures, our instructor said this of our movements:
On the in breath, finding an expansion and on the out breath, stepping into that space.
All became a blur after that, as I was ingraining this idea into my psyche. What a lovely way to think about life. Finding expansion, openness, opportunity, possibility. And then stepping into it, giving what you found a chance. Oh, I love it! I mean, Good morning world!
Anyway, having shaken up the routine, I now feel ready to pick up a practice that's new and exciting. It might involve trying one new class a week or perhaps a different studio? It might entail changing nothing about the actual yoga asana routine. I will, however, aim to find expansion in my daily life and step into that space.
One more thing about these glorious yoga mornings. It was framed by a beautiful chai tea latte:
and a Bing Cherry coffee cake:
I know one thing that will never change: my love of baked goods and hot beverages.
Finding an expansion, and stepping into that space.