Monday, January 30, 2012

Yoga: It's Not the Worst.

Okay.  Fine.  After giving it a try a few times, I will begrudgingly admit that yoga does not suck.  In fact, I kinda like it… under the right circumstances.

I’ve been to two classes in the last week – both billed as vinyasa yoga, but with two different instructors.  And what I’ve learned from this two-class wealth of experience is this:  not all yoga instructors are created equally not douche-y.

Instructor number one:  laid-back British lady.  Focused on teaching and helping perfect poses and sequences of poses.  Walked around the room and offered assistance.  Complimented my form twice (maybe that’s why I liked her…).  Referenced the spiritual side of yoga but did not harp on it (no, THAT’S why I liked her… but also the compliment thing).

Instructor number two:  spent an hour and a half lecturing the class about the spirituality of it all.  Very few actual poses.  Mostly just a series of movements while balancing on one foot at a time.  Compared us to flowers, various animals, and the wind.  He told me to “relax my cell membranes.”  I told him to shove it.

…I didn’t actually.  But I wanted to.

Now, I understand that half of yoga is the spirituality of it, and many many people swear by it for that reason.  I absolutely respect that, although personally I’m, uhhh… noottt super spiritual.  Instructor number two was (duh), but that wasn’t the problem.  I’m sure every yoga class is going to have a spiritual component to it. 

But I’m sorry, I really can’t help myself – when someone starts taking about letting your energy flow through your fingertips, imagining you’re a flower who needs to detox after hibernating all winter, relaxing your cell membranes… my eyes just start rolling uncontrollably. 

Luckily, I was in the back corner of the room where no one could see me being a douche.

That all said, there are some things beyond the physical aspects of yoga that I can appreciate.  Centering yourself, being in tune with your mind and body, a certain degree of meditation – this I can get behind.  Even after the class I didn’t like as much I left feeling better and calmer.  I think all fitness classes benefit the mind because they have that element of focus, but somehow the atmosphere of a yoga classroom lets you relax even when you want to die because you should NOT have tried that backbend.

Sooooo fine, all you yogis.  You win.  Consider me a convert.

Sidenote:  During class #2, I spent an hour and a half doing quite well in various one-footed positions.  When we finished, I stood up to put my shoes on aaaand immediately toppled over.  Because I am nothing if not graceful.

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