I walked into my first yoga class, Vinyasa I-II, at Kindness Yoga after a nine hour day on my feet and more than a little frustrated at my spending 45 minutes on hold with the DMV and never talking to a real person (damn expired out-of-state registration.) Usually at this point of the day I would head home and watch Mad Men on DVD, but I had a yoga itch that needed to be scratched.
Jeremy Wolf began his class by getting us mentally ready for the practice. This is always the hardest part for me, especially when I’ve got something that needs to be done (like get a new registration) so I was pleased that he took longer than I was used to talking to us about the meditative part of yoga. He talked to us about not only finding a purpose, but why we should find a purpose. “There is a barrier between self and world,” Jeremy said while we all sat with our eyes closed. “That barrier is the mind.” He went on to describe the mind as a lens through which we see the world, both in our personal lives and as a universal community. We can clear the lens with the energy we pass through it and our bodies are the vessels. In my mind, it kind of became a chicken or the egg scenario: we can’t fully let go in our minds without maximizing our full physical potential, and we can’t experience the ultimate physical sensation without a clear head.
I met someone yesterday at work named Seth who had been in the yoga class right before the one I took with Jeremy. He was a member at a different studio, until he tried Kindness. “At the other studio, I was always thinking yoga was supposed to be spiritual. It wasn’t until I took Jeremy’s class that I actually discovered the spiritual side of it.” I think the spiritual part comes from the huge emphasis on self awareness and reflection. Jeremy reminded us to maintain our breath throughout the practice which I found very grounding. There wasn’t too much om-ing going on; honestly, I know it helps some people, but it takes so much work to quiet my mind that any chanting I do is almost jarring, so I was much more into the deep breath into the chest and exhale belly button to spine.
The rest of the practice included poses that I was familiar with, with strengthening variations, as well as poses I had never heard of before, like the Thread the Needle Pose (I think we did a slight variation of this pose; I feel like there was a little bit more threading involved in ours.) Jeremy walked among us, talking about the poses and offering individual modifications, to deepen the stretch or relieve an aching joint. I wish I could remember what he said to the rest of the class, but I think I’ve got some kind of “yogamnesia” (new word? Coined it.) and my mind absorbed everything while I sank deeper and deeper into these poses until I didn’t know what day it was and I felt like I was underwater.
The end of the class came much too soon and I was actually bummed when we spread out into Corpse Pose. Usually, this is when I get anxious to get going and I start fidgeting, but I completely forgot I was surrounded by 25 other people and may have dozed off for a second. When we were rousted from our last pose, every single muscle in my body was shaking and I didn’t care one lick about my expired registration.