Sunday, March 27, 2011


Friday morning I went to an amazing hot vinyasa class that blew my mind and left me perma-grinning, as all of the 6:30am ones do at my studio. That early in the morning it is very easy to get inside my head and block out the rest of the world, since the rest of the world hasn't had a chance to pollute my thoughts yet. The flow was challenging, the dialog was inspiring, and the music was motivating. I left lighter than when I went in, with a definite spring to my step.

Saturday I had to observe a class for yoga teacher training. Just watch how the teacher teaches and keep in mind things like what adjustments were being made and how students were responding to various elements. Basically just observe a class from a technical viewpoint. The class I observed turned out to be taught by the same teacher I had just taken the morning before, who used the same flow as I had just been through. However, what a difference your perception makes in your experience!

As class began in Child's Pose, I felt a bit uncomfortable watching the class. It seemed like such an intimate moment that I was crashing, just hovering above everyone instead of joining in and going deep inside. When class continued, I watched the teacher walk through the flying elbows and legs with grace and intensity while she kept a running monologue urging them to go deeper. I could see the students puff up when she walked by and subsequently collapse as she moved on. Her presence pushed their bodies while her words pushed their minds.

The thing that struck me the most was the lack of emotional response on my part. When I had participated in this exact class a day before, it was beautiful. The energy generated from the flow overwhelmed me. The music inspired me to go further. Her words were that of Buddha himself. But when I took away my participation and observed everyone else instead of myself, the class changed. I could see the connection between the teacher and the students but I couldn't feel it myself. It was as if they were in this glorious bubble and I was stuck on the outside, just blankly staring in. Even the music seemed to fall short, even though it was the exact same playlist that had me scrambling to YouTube after class the day before to bookmark these amazing songs.

It was then I realized just how important your mindset is to your experiences. Some people go through life like I was on Saturday - watching from the outside, not wanting to participate for fear of looking silly or even failure. But some people can go through the exact same experience and feel the beauty of just participating, regardless of how "well" they do. Just immersing yourself in an experience can change it from mundane to magical. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to experience the exact same class from two distinctly different points of view because it showed me how yoga isn't about the teacher or the music or even the flow - it is about what you put into it.

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