Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Winding up and winding down

I went to yoga this morning. It was Kripalu style, which is a little like Bikram in that it was developed by a guru who then transitioned it into a business, though this business is more like the Transcendental Meditation center in Indiana than the myriad Hot Yoga studios that pepper the landscape of any city (Sacramento and LA seem to be the most concentrated examples of this I've seen, though). Kripalu yoga is largely based on kundalini yoga, which when translated to the gym, usually means short pulse extensions into the full asana and a lot of what borders on whirling dervish, at least in my experience.

With my extra-flexible joints and tendency toward injury, I am often apprehensive about kundalini, but since my gym offers it a 7:30 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I figured I'd do my stiff version. No need to worry really, since the woman teaching the class is older and less into over-flexing. In fact, it was a really nice, three-person class. I am certainly missing the zen sensibility of most yoga studios, but since this fits my budget, I'm not complaining.

Let me tell you, my friends, I am wicked flexible now and my balance is so much better than it was a year ago. I can hold Trikonasana (Triangle pose) for an extended length of time without losing my balance, and I can place my hand on the floor or wherever I fancy. I don't know just when I got this good with this pose, but it is quite possibly my favorite. Since my summer shoulder injury, even more fun than Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II).

There were only two things that I'm not sure I'd replicate. First, our teacher asked us to balance on a block. I'll admit it, my foot is actually longer than most yoga blocks, so I find it less supportive than a more petite person. Even more, however, was the request that we stand on the skinny edge of the block. I can just see myself falling sideways and tearing a ligament. I didn't, but I think in the interest of safety and crappy health insurance that I'll stick with the flat side of the block from here on out.

The second thing I question is this: Does it make sense to end a morning yoga class with Savasana (corpse pose)? I understand its value in terms of yogic tradition, but as a person who could really go right back to sleep after lying on the floor for 5 minutes, I'm not sure that the final activity gives me the burst of morning energy and focus I'd like to carry into the day.

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