Last week I wrote about the curious reality that is the male aversion to yoga classes and how I think maybe it is ego driven. But it occurred to me that the same is true with women, it just presents itself in a different way. We go to class and then our ego makes us compete with the person next to us who is more flexible or the woman in front of us who is killing it with an arm balance. Ego was the thing that kept me up in Wheel Pose last night at Y7 Studio when I should have stuck with Bridge.
I realise that this all seems kind of crazy, what with my doing a “master posture” in the above photo. But for me, Kasyapasana isn’t that hard. Sure, I could work on my form. However, my friend talked me into it and boom, there I was. But I can not hold Crow to save my life. I think that maybe one day I might be able to get in to Pigeon Pose, but I doubt it. And I would say that Dragonfly is never going to happen but I try to rid my brain of can’t and instead remind myself that with practice, all is coming.
I went to Yoga Maya today. There were only two of us in the class. At first I was super excited – semi-private class for free! Score! Then, as the teacher destroyed my conversion from Upward to Downward Facing Dog I realised that this class was going to be a serious reality check. I have taken classes, at Yoga Vida especially, where you are so packed in and the teacher is so far away, you can get away with messy chaturangas and no one will be the wiser. But are you any better for it. I was in a class at Yoga Vida, just doing my thing, when I was first asked to fly into Wild Thing (if it’s in your practice). Why not, I thought. And I hurt my shoulder so badly I had to sit out on Eagle Pose the next day in Bikram and was admonished by my teacher.
Yoga class isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the place for such silliness. It is a place for you and your mat and an acceptance of who you are in that moment. So many classes start with the teacher telling you to pay attention to your breath and just be aware of it – not change it, not judge it, just observe. And at the end of class we breathe again, and observe, and see if maybe there is a difference. Variations are offered as options depending on where you are on that day. Not as challenges to see who is “better” or more advanced. I am naturally flexible so certain poses come easy to me. It doesn’t make me a good yogi – it makes me someone with athletic parents and a little bit of luck. Leave your ego at the door, whether you are a seasoned practitioner or someone trying yoga for the first time and just be present on the mat.
And don’t get me wrong about Yoga Vida – I have had some of the best hands-on adjustments there and their basic classes are wonderful for getting down to the nitty-gritty of a pose. I’m taking three classes there next week!