It is an odd thing, this yoga project. It is an odd thing to be a stranger at yoga classes, to actually COMMIT to being a stranger- I see interactions between regulars, and I want that for myself. I want friends, regularity, a routine.....but that's not what I set out to do. Fortunately, I do have help, one source being Em, who communicates with me regularly via email. She asked a question, a pertinent one:
"i'm curious" says she via email, "about how many yoga classes are you going to every week, and are you beginning to feel any kind of shift, either in your body or your mind?"
And so I answer:
I’ve been at this for a month now, and I’m averaging about three classes a week. Have I seen a shift? Kinda sorta.
Physically, the answer is yes, certainly. It isn’t HUGE, but my bearing is different, although I have to admit, it sort of depends on the studio and the teacher. From a purely cosmetic viewpoint, my trousers are a bit looser around the waist and my Man-Titties- an unfortunate reality for those of us who’ve crossed the 30-threshold- are less breast-like and more Men’s Health Pectorals, which is cool, I suppose.
To boot, a rather intoxicated young woman was soliciting hugs on the sidewalk the other night, and so I gave her one- I surprised us both, I think, with my strength. A good strong hug is a cool thing to give. Who knew I had it in me?
And the spiritual side? Dunno, exactly. It might be a false dichotomy to separate this from the physical side, but might as well, at least for thinking purposes. I see it as analogous to gardening- if I’m trying to cultivate a spiritual garden, so to speak, I’ve basically just tilled the soil. I can feel myself becoming more receptive, but to what end? The chanting and all the little parables that the teachers mention don’t do much for me on their own. I feel like they are referencing concepts of the Indian brand of spirituality that you might not get if you were just in class for the asanas, which I think most people are. Plus, as you mentioned, some of the parables are kind of trite- the pontification of the Nature of Ugly Facial Hairs and One’s Spiritual Acceptance of Them? Just pluck the fuckers. Problem solved.
Still, I’m liking some of the reading I’m doing. I don’t think there is much room for an exploration of this side of yoga directly in the classroom, at least during the asana/prana sessions. I think most people want the shapely booty. I doubt I’ll go to any chanting sessions, but maybe I’ll hit up some of the philosophical ones. All said and done, though, I feel like this searching has more to do with what you figure out for yourself, rather than what the teacher can tell you. And I think the teachers know that……
And I like the fact that you asked that question. You mind if I put it up as a post on the old blog?
And so it is. I also considered dropping the blog- I've been feeling a little tired of this open dialogue as of late, and this is a blog afer all, not CNN. Still, she swayed me, told me she'd be sad if I dropped it, and the small readership that the blog has garnered is a regular one. I thank all 3 of you ( it's more than that but still, one must joke). And I still have a job to do. But i have an idea.........start researching your local yoga classes, folks. I will soon issue a challenge.