Mar. 18th, 2015

clevermanka: default (yoga)
Last night [livejournal.com profile] redheadfae took me as her guest to a yoga class at her gym. One thing I've learned about taking a yoga class--I never leave without having learned something!

Last night I learned a great flow, the details of which are a little fuzzy, but I can recreate something similar. Something like (I am going to use English instead of Sanskrit here because I am lazy at the moment) Down dog to Low Lunge to Triangle to Warrior 1 to Warrior 3 to Half-Moon. It was tough! I was sweating! I couldn't even wobble into Warrior 3. My balance was off and my glutes were just not having it after a serious roll-out session the night before. I'll definitely incorporate it into a future home session, though.

The other thing I learned is that I've been spoiled for good yoga teachers. Even at Yoga Studio of Lawrence, where I didn't like their general methods, I didn't think they were bad teachers. They just didn't teach in ways that communicated to me.

The instructor for this class was nice, friendly, and supportive, but she gave no individual instruction. I might as well have been following a yoga DVD. She didn't use any Sanskrit names for things which, okay, lots of people don't, but there are some accepted English names for things and she didn't use them, either, or used them inconsistently. The things I had particular issues with were she referred to Sun Salutation simply as "flow," which...there's a lot of flows, out there, lady, give this one its proper name and then (because we went through Sun Salutation a lot), she repeatedly had the chance to at least say the English name of Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), but chose instead to frequently use the term "Bottoms Up."

I'm all for having fun in yoga, and I remember dissolving into giggle fits with the other students during many of Gopi's sessions. But "bottom's up?" as anything other than (maybe) a one-off joke? Hmm. She mentioned the importance of breath at the beginning of the session, but there was no instruction on good breath practice and only once or twice did she remind people to breathe (during particularly difficult poses).

This was my first yoga class in a gym environment instead of a dedicated yoga studio, and I understand more completely now the complaints of modern American yoga practice. This wasn't yoga. This was stretching in yoga poses.



There was an Indian woman there who, when we chatted a bit after class, asked me "this was a good class, yes?" and I so much wanted to say "not really, no," but I have some diplomacy. I did my best to convey to her that she really should check out Westside Yoga studio by emphasizing that they are much more focused on the spiritual aspects of yoga and that they even host Kirtan sessions (she says she's been chanting since she was six).

[livejournal.com profile] redheadfae offered to host me so we can check out some of the other teachers and classes on different nights, which I'm definitely up for. If nothing else, I'm interested to see if the other teachers are similarly disengaged from personal instruction with the students and/or have no focus on teaching yoga tradition. I really hope they're not.

Disappointing/Unsurprising Moment of Today: I started my period this morning, which means for April, it should arrive just as I'm checking into the 221B Con hotel.

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clevermanka

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