Sunday, July 05, 2015

My First Yoga Class?

Along with the refrain "I know nothing about art" when I tell people I work in a contemporary art gallery, I am also told "I could never do yoga, I'm not flexible" when I tell people I do yoga (....and this also applies to cooking). While many people are wowed by yoga positions (as it's the only "showable" thing often associated with the practice), yoga itself taps into so much more and is such a rich and complex experience which isn't about flexibility at all but about accepting your body and where it is as well as what it can do.

Flexibility should never be a deterrent to try yoga, because the practice, beyond the poses themselves is about the breathing, about the mind observation, about the meditation, and about all that comes together with the body. And those frustrations over flexibility can be the most instructive struggles as questions bubble up: where does that frustration come from? what is your relationship with that frustration? what does that reveal about your relationship to your body? What does it reveal about your expectations of the body? This rich dialogue can come through in every yoga class, even within one pose. At the end of the day, we all have a body, we are all breathing, we are all thinking, we are all living and feeling and struggling and thriving. We can all do yoga.

And when I try to think back to when I was a beginner, try as I might, I can't remember. I know that I did a Hinduism course in high school which involve a yoga practice which definitely predates my very regular yoga classes with important mentors Caroline and Amelia when I was at Harvard. But those first classes? I don't really remember them. While now I do know the basic positions and many advanced ones too, every class is new when I am being taken on a new journey, introduced to new poses and maybe reintroduced to the nuances of old poses. So, in a sense, every class is my first class.

No comments: