Thursday, March 3, 2011

One of the most awesome yoga practice I've ever had despite my achy shoulders and hip discomfort

I've always felt great after most of my yoga practices, but today I felt like I was over the moon.

Practice today was rocket yoga. I know I know, not the "real" authentic Ashtanga series. My shoulders were not feeling their best. My elbows complained at chaturangas. My hip flexors started feeling funny half way through class. I wore the wrong pants so I couldn't do most of my arm balances. I'll admit it here. I'm a cheater. I bought myself some over-priced Lululemon pants because the fabric assists my legs in sticking onto my arms during crow pose and teddy bear handstands. Today my bare legs were not gripping my arms at all. I was slipping all over the place.

Despite all these inconveniences, I felt absolutely fantastic in class. A couple of my favorite teachers were taking today's class too and the sight of them always brings me happiness. Even though I know I'm always supposed to focus on my own practice I couldn't help sneaking peaks at what they were doing. I feel bad because I'm sure they felt the pressure from all the students constantly peaking at what they were doing and they haven't perfected all the poses either. But man, there were a few poses that did look like perfection. I felt like I saw the holy grail / gold standard a couple of times. Could almost hear angels singing a chorus in the background.

I'm starting to recognize a lot of the people in class. There are only a couple people whom I feel connected with, but having these enthusiastic keeners at all corners of the room, super excited like I was, with perma-smiles attached to their faces the whole class, made me feel so warm-hearted. The world would be a much better place if there were more people with their attitudes. I couldn't help but imagine I was bobbing up and down in a sea of positive bright energy, being supported and encouraged by this upbeat vibration, with a warm, caring, authentic, confident voice (of the teacher) guiding the way, leading us on an amazing journey. There were no judgements, no self-doubts. We just tried whatever crazy poses our teacher asked us to do.  Didn't matter if we flopped out of an arm balance or couldn't get into a pose at all. The fact that a few of the yogis could actually accomplish the advanced poses was good enough for us all. It's the group effort that counts.

After class we walked out of the classroom feeling like we just got off of a super fun roller coast ride together. We chatted like little kiddies on sugar high discussing about our super dooper awesome field trip - "Oh my god, did you see teacher so and so's perfectly straight leg up into the air in that pose?" "I managed to get one foot briefly behind my head! How cool was that!" "Did you hear me let out a tiny scream of 'yes!' when I succeeded in going from crow pose hopping back to chaturanga?"

For about 90 minutes, I felt like I was the luckiest person in the world, to be able to experience being a kid again at 30 years old, for once not beating myself up for not trying hard enough focusing on my breathing the whole time, or self-critical of how I wasn't doing my best in striving for perfection in asanas. I wasn't concerned about how gross I looked in my messed up hair or my sweaty scrunched up attire, and none of my classmates cared either. I simply enjoyed embarking on a challenging practice with some amazing folks who are all relatively new to yoga (less than 5 years of practice), who can do astonishing things with their bodies, who are non-judgmental, non-egotistical, non-self-critical, just excited to practice hard and attempt new personal best accomplishments. Now, how often do you get to experience this? I feel like I've just had a taste of heaven.

p.s. The creator of Rocket Yoga, Larry Schultz, passed away a few days ago and we paid tribute to him at the practice. It's kind of surreal.


  1. Sounds amazing. I have always wondered how the instructors look when they practice. I have yet to glimpse that but hope to one day.

  2. I'm glad to hear you experienced that! I had a similar go during power yesterday, and I felt stupendous when I sauntered out; all smiles.

    Two girls that worked at the studio were in class too, very bendy and advanced, but I was actually able to stop checking other yogis last night (of which distracts me and fuels the competitive edges of my brain).

  3. What a beautiful description of your class and practicemates! It's such a great feeling of connection when everyone supports one another in practice! Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Hi Nourish, thanks for visiting! Yoga teachers look like keener students who are not perfect in all poses (even though the way they verbally guide us makes us think they've mastered it all) but they do look pretty darn inspiring.

    @Jethro, doesn't it feel extra special when yoga teachers and guest services people take up a class with us? I really love this community feeling.

    @Christine, I'm learning it's our own mindset that determines the quality of a practice. I actually did notice some students who were frowning the whole time but I decided to focus only on the positive energy in the room and it felt absolutely fabulous.

  5. oooh Happy Mahashivaratri! Nice to hear about rocket yoga whenever it happens.

  6. Your happiness and joy in this post was really leaping off the screen, thank you for sharing, it brought a big smile to my face!

    So, lululemon pants help with crow pose huh? Do they also help with nervousness about getting both feet off the ground, coz that's what I'm facing right now :)

  7. Happy Mahashivaratri SereneFlavor!

    Savasanaaddict - I'm glad that my joy was able to reach you through the Internet :) . Hope you get to experience something similar in real life too!
    For crow pose, place a bolster or pillow in front of you, then go ahead and dive your head straight into the cushy pillow. It'll help you get over your fear as well as getting used to the feeling of having your butt higher up in the air, which is what the pose requires.

  8. That's awesome advice! Will test it out :)