I haven’t been to class this week at all–something or other came up every morning. Monday I needed to take the cats to the vet, and Wednesday I woke with nausea and a headache. At least on Tuesday and today I managed to squeeze in a bit of home practice. I do mainly Hatha Yoga, and a bit of seated meditation. The classes I attend are a mix of Hatha Flow (where one pose flows into another), regular Hatha, breathing exercises, and some meditation. The teachers mix it up, so no two classes have the same mix. I take my classes at Yoga East, and have been ever since September of 2007. I had tried the classes at Gold’s Gym some time before but I didn’t like the classes or the attitude of the instructor. Yoga just doesn’t seem to work right when the instructor is really trained to do aerobics or weight training, and hasn’t really focused on yoga. At any rate, Gold’s Gym wasn’t a good fit, even though I still had to pay the membership fee for the rest of my two years contract. At least I got some good use out of their other equipment for a while.
I haven’t studied in depth about yogic philosophy, but I know a bit of it. And the classes seem to work better when the teachers know and care about the philosophical aspect. The ironic part is that I have a bit of trouble with some of it, like the chakras and the kundalini and the like. Sounds very mystical and non-rational. My tenitive approch to this sort of thing is to either ignore it or see if I can get any use of these concepts as metaphore. Fortunately in most of the classes, these things are not really given a big focus in the class though they do get the occasional mention.
Regardless of any “woo” that gets inserted into the class, there is no escaping the fact that I greatly enjoy and benefit from the practice. Even the chanting–even if I have no clue what we are saying I love the feel of the vibration in my chest and the sound of the whole class chanting in unison. It really does clear and center my mind and focus my attention on the present moment. Another thing I have observed in my practice is that in the balancing poses, my ability to balance has at least as much to do with my mental focus as with my ability to find my center of gravity. And all balancing poses (maybe all poses, I’m not sure) rely on a balance of tension and relaxation–the trick is to find that right balance. This has also been the only type of exercise that I have ever been motivated to keep up for over a year. And I intend to stick with it for quite some time.