Monday, October 27

The WAY of Yoga

Yoga teaches that learning is a lifelong process. Doing the same
poses week in and week out, you learn them ever more deeply. There's
always more to learn, more to let go of, more to be aware of. At the
same time, as in any long process of work, it sometimes becomes
routine. I've gone through the ashtanga sequence a countless number
of times. I have to remind myself that each practice is a fresh
start, another opportunity for growth, and that even in the simplest
things, there subtleties to be discovered and rediscovered, that the
road to mastery is long.

Nonetheless, a change in routine can be refreshing, and I was caught
off-guard by the class I had last week. Leading a yoga class is an
art in itself--one has to be aware of the students and their needs,
maintain an aura in the room, give feedback in a way that reaches the
subconscious rather than the ego. It is also an improvisation, no
different from that of a jazz musician's, with all the attendant
surprises and pitfalls. The beauty of the class was one of those
unexpected joys that enter one's life unannounced. We did an
exquisitely choreographed sequence involving warrior poses and
balances and shifting back and forth between them. We did several
variations of dolphin pose and even some dolphin push-ups. We tried
some one-legged vinyasas for challenge. But it was less what we did
than how it flowed, so naturally, seemingly inevitably. It was a work
of art, found in the least likely of places.
-Ian Le