Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Yoga

One of the things I was most excited to do when our family moved back to Whitehorse was sign up for a yoga class. It had been years since I was part of a scheduled class, where you begin at one level and end far more accustomed to new postures. Where a teacher could circulate the class and correct postures, or slightly touch you, easing you deeper into a pose. I love that part, and I had missed it. There is, fortunately, a whole slew of yoga options in yuppie-Whitehorse. I know I didn't want to go to an over-priced studio where everyone wore Lululemon and where competition among yogis was unspoken but the norm. I thought I'd try out a beginner class at the rec centre.
I wanted to quit after the first class. It was too easy, the postures were NOT ashtanga sequences, the music was weird and the teacher was way beyond any level of hippie I'd ever met before. I vowed to try one more class before asking for a refund and finding another. After all those years of waiting, this was not what I had in mind.
But sometimes the best lessons come with breaking down expectations, don't they? I stuck with the class mainly because I attended it with friends. Then it became kind of funny to quote the far-out teachings of our instructor. Like, what does it mean when she asks me to "open the eyes of my shoulders"? "Open up my hand to receive the floor"?
I began to recognize the pattern to her teachings. Although they are not the traditional ones I'm used to, they ask me to manipulate my body and take poses that are not typical for me. They challenge me to re-teach my muscles and joints and take a new perspective. Which is a cool thing to do, after doing mostly the same yoga for ten years (in classes or at home).
It's not an intense workout, but now I see that at this point in my life I didn't really need a good workout. I needed to learn to stop judging a book by its cover, stop assuming I knew it all and just needed to practice it, and start inviting new ways of doing yoga (not to mention wacky new expressions) into my world.
There are only a few weeks left and though I think I'll sign up for the intermediate-level class in the new year, I'll miss the group of women who assemble each Monday evening to better ourselves, to focus inward, and to do something good for our bodies. It may sound hockey, but its simplistic, and that's the name of the game up here right now.


  1. Hey Sarah, I am signed up for a month to do hot yoga which takes place in a room with the heat cranked. First class was last night and I have never sweated so much in my life.

  2. Ah, bikram "hot room" yoga. I miss that SO MUCH about Ottawa! It is a good sweat, isnt it? Just dont wipe the sweat off during class: you'll only sweat more! You'll have to let me know how you like it.


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