July 6, 2017 yoga thoughts
I have managed to find a couple of yoga studios in Rapid City. I felt the need to practice with others. It’s always nice to have the energy of the group. The first one I went to was an Anusara class, which I like. It was an hour long class, I would have preferred an hour and a half, since it’s about a 45 minute drive to get to Rapid City. I make an effort to combine errands when I go to town because it is a long drive.
When I go to a new class with a teacher I have not practiced with I try to leave all expectations at the door. To keep an open mind, a beginner’s mind for this new experience. It’s not always easy to leave our judgements out of our experiences. That concept is something I work with anytime I practice, there are always poses that are favorites and ones that I don’t like so much. I have favorite teachers and others that I don’t care to practice with.
Part of an Anusara class is the invocation chant at the beginning of class. I like to chant, I don’t always do it in classes I lead, but it is nice to do with others. Especially if it is a typical part of the style of yoga being taught. So there we were, about 20 students, all settled in to our comfortable seated position at the beginning of class. He tells us the focus of the class is going to be standing and balancing poses and then zips through the invocation chant, by himself! There was no option to join in or not, he just said it and then asked us all to come up to standing.
I must have just not been in an open state of mind. Try as I might I had trouble following his instructions. It seemed as though there wasn’t much focus on the alignment in the pose and even if I wanted to make adjustments, there wasn’t much time in the pose to make any changes. With that many people in the class, I thought he wouldn’t pay much attention to me, a new student, visiting from out of town, but every time I did something slightly different he would call out a correction. I do the same thing when I see several people doing something different from my directions, but other times I’ll just let them do what they feel like doing. After all, it is their yoga practice. And I know he wasn’t likely just calling me out for not following his directions, it’s highly possible there were others who were not following instructions too.
For my next yoga experience, I thought I would seek out a different studio with another new teacher. This studio is downtown, which makes it about 10 minutes closer to home, that’s one benefit. The class I took there was called: Real Evolution Yoga (REY): REY is a unique yoga methodology that builds power through flexility and strength. Well why not try that? I have never heard of this style of yoga.
The teacher is soft spoken and friendly. Very welcoming to the studio space. The class size was small, just 5 of us. There was no chanting here, that’s okay, sometimes I don’t lead chants not even, Om. It depends on the class setting and the students. We began in a supported reclining bound angle pose, supta badha konasana. A very wonderful and relaxing pose to be in any time. We gradually moved through the sequence, stopping in the middle of practice for 5 minutes of meditation. I thought that sort of odd, but here again, I was trying to keep an open mind for the class, I might learn something new. She did have a new way to try triangle pose, trikonasana, that we explored together. She asked what I thought about it during the class, a nice gesture. Something that made me feel included, a part of the community there instead of someone who is just passing through.
After class I asked her if she had a few extra minutes to keep the studio open, I would like to practice a few inversions and hanumanasa with a little more space. She allowed me that extra time to just be in that space, nice wood floors, big windows with lots of natural light streaming in and the sense of being in an open community.
I think that’s part of what is hard for me in living this way. It’s being away from my community of yogis and Buddhists and meditators. I know there are other people out there who maybe feel the same way and I can always create that community, I can be the lead. But there is the sense of transience, knowing this isn’t going to last. How to commit, how to know if others are willing to commit. Even at the second yoga studio, I mentioned to the teacher that I missed teaching and she suggested I be a guest teacher there, at that studio. How do I commit to that with the schedule I have? Is it just my fear of success holding me back? Maybe I can find some answers to those questions with another walk in the woods.