Monday, January 25, 2010

searching for yoga

I've slowly started to explore Northeast Ohio for where to take yoga classes, and I've happily found some places/teachers.

Upon recommendation by a peace activist with whom I studied yoga in Cincinnati, I attended a class with this teacher, in the Jivamukti style of yoga. She had such a wonderful way of infusing yoga philosophy into the class in a down-to-earth, accessible manner, while challenging the body with asanas. After class, I was stretched-out and blissed-out.

I also attended a vinyasa class in a heated room. I've always loved the rhythmic flow of a vinyasa class where the breath is linked with movement. The heat, coupled with the dynamic flowing sequences, and the DEEP, heat-producing breathing... I don't think I have ever sweat that much in a yoga class. After savasana, I was still sweaty, but joyful, calm, and at peace.

Then last week, our campus recreational center held a free demo week for the instructional classes, including yoga. The teacher was very informative about connecting the yoga movements to specific body organs and the resulting health benefits. Got some great tips too for movements that help coordinate the left and right sides of the brain - quite helpful for us in our student life.

I also attended another class held in the basement of a church building. Places like this evoke a "secret society" feel, but it was definitely no secret, because eventually the space got packed. People from all age groups and seemingly all walks of life came to attend. The instructor had a personal touch and obviously knew some of the students who seemed to be regulars. I like that. I like being able to connect with a group and to feel a sense of community - not like a rushed, lunch hour yoga class where people unroll their mats, practice yoga, roll up their mats again, and leave without so much as acknowledging the person on the next mat, even if the room is so packed that the next mat is less than an arm's distance away from you. Not that those classes are terrible - hardly so. I've been to some of those classes myself, and never felt like I shouldn't have come (when did I ever regret a yoga practice anyway?). I just like feeling at least somewhat connected. Not that we have to all be best friends and sing Kumbaya. That's a bit too close for comfort for me anyway. It's just nice to be in a place where you can see regulars, where you can feel that it's becoming your "third place". I think that because I am away from home and have recently moved, finding that "third place" becomes important.

Next... I'm off to find some yin yoga, to add a nice balance to all the "yang" styles of yoga I've been practicing.

Regardless of where you go, I think there is such a great benefit to experiencing a variety of classes and styles, and to learn from different teachers. There's a wealth of knowledge out there.

What styles do you like, and why?

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