Depending on who you talk to, you’re going to hear a lot of different opinions on yoga. Plenty of yoga for all is the practice of gurus who named the “yoga style,” as if this clarifies anything. Two points: 1.) you should definitely practice some form of yoga at minimum twice a week, and 2.) after reading this article, you’ll know exactly what type of class is right for you. In selecting a yoga class, I will ask you to compare yoga to skiing. Before I can assist you with class selection in rolling out your mat, you have to take the Ski Quiz.
Check True or False
1.) You love to ski. You think about skiing on the beach and wish you could just erase the nonsensical warmer months from your New England calendar. You consider fall disruptive foreplay and just need to GET TO IT. Why is February so DARN short??
2.) When you’re on the mountain, other skiers really get on your nerves. I mean, the thought that they would actually have the nerve to stand before you while you wait in this bull#@%& line at the chair lift? You position yourself quickly once on top of the mountain to make sure the person standing in front of you does not assume that this will continuethis whole in front of you thingyou will PASS him in the next two minutes, so help us God!
3.) Why do kids come to ski? You cannot believe how much space they take up on the mountain. You see them and wonder how you will navigate around these stupid kids learning how to ski with their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and the WORST of the lotgrandparents on the mountain! You need a separate mountain for these people, or they have to go home. You need to ski; no time for learning, lessons or love. There are only twelve reliable weekends because March is such a puissant and refuses to make a full commitment to winter.
4.) You like to ski cross-country. Sometimes you go to New Hampshire, Maine or Vermont. but for the most part, once you see two inches of snow, you just strap those babies on, head down your driveway and see what happens.
5.) If, by chance, on your annual ski trip, you start the day in the lodge eating steamy pancakes dripping in syrup. You love the clunk of the ceramic mug as it hits the wood table while you smile at strangers…wait, new friends…because that’s what people who you don’t know could be: potential new friends you met on the mountain.
6.) The following year on your next ski trip as you are getting off the chair lift, you see a young father with two small children. You approach him and say you’ll keep an eye out. He smiles and thanks you, adding in that his wife, who is expecting a third, is back at the condo greeting the family, who has flown in from eight states (it’s his father’s 90 birthday reunion) and she is working on the karaoke list. At the bottom of the mountain, he invites you to the party. You attend and bring brownies.
Okay, onto your yoga choice. Pick a yoga studioany yoga studioreally, just pick one and drive there. If you have marked “True” next to any of the first three questions, your yoga class is in the large room. Follow the other participants who look like they had the same experience as you in the parking lot with the other people driving and parking. Roll out your mat and breathe, because unlike the mountain and momentum you’re used to in skiing, this workout is going to be all you. Every muscle, ligament, bone and everything else, including your earlobes, will feel it. First, they’ll adjust that Chi with a satisfying temp of 90 to 105 degrees so your machine creates an internal cooling systemheaven knows you could use it. I promise you, when you leave a hot power yoga class as described on any webpage, you’re going to feel better. Do the smart thing and come back tomorrow for a stretch class or meditation session. Give your body the balance of a serious workout and a touch of what the practice is really all about: a peaceful state realized through creating an awareness that just being in the now is yoga. You’ll get there, grasshopper; give it ten years.
If you marked “False” next to the first three questions, lucky you! You get to take any class anywhere. If it’s your first class, ask the person beside you if they ski. If they start snarling, move your mat. Yoga is the practice that gets the world to join in with what you preach. Being in the moment, on your mat, making time to learn something or get better at it (who really cares about better anyway?) is what longtime yoginis are sharing with every lotus-loving one of us. Nothing gets you better prepped for life than a good solid ninety minutes of yoga. As you sip a hot tea, you’ll think of how much better the world would be if everybody did it.
Amy Vincent has two teenagers who are not in therapy, lives with two dogs that are writing a tell-all book, believes the best education is free and is known to quote a line from the Godfather once a day. She enjoys looking at art and talking about it if no one else is around and spends a lot of time thinking about how to make the world a better place because most people deserve it.