I’ve had a different experience in yoga class these past two weeks. I worked the front desk during the time of a class I normally take, and after check-ins and admin work, I snuck in to take class.
I expected a bit of a harried experience, but then being able to drop into class immediately. The part I anticipated disliking was that I also had to leave before savasana – arguably, the best part of class.
What I discovered was very different than I expected. Showing up late to yoga and leaving early changes the entire dynamic of yoga class.
Now I understand why my extremely passionate and strict teacher on Long Island used to yell if someone got up to leave before savasana. Although I don’t mind if someone needs to leave my class early or come late (it’s life), I think I understand why he was so adamant on his position.
For me, the best part of class is the theme – the message the teacher was inspired to bring that day. Dropping in and hitting the mat for high plank and chaturanga feels more like a boot camp workout then a spiritual practice for body and mind.
Yes, I take challenging yoga classes, and yes, I sweat, but I don’t do yoga for that. For a sweat session I could take a run with the puppy around the neighborhood. 😉 Yoga is the connection to the breath (pranayama) while linking body and mind. It’s leaving behind what no longer serves you. I paraphrase the quote by Judith Lasater: It’s not about touching your toes, it’s what you learn on the way down.
But when I’m only touching my toes, with no dropping into breath and no release at the end—with no permission to let it all go, then all I’m working out is my body. And that’s not yoga.
Yoga is a fabulous workout for mind and body, but what I’ve learned is that without the meditation, without the moments of silence, without savasana—chaturanga is little more than a pushup.
As for me, I will be taking full classes whenever I can, and I highly recommend you do too. 😊