Sunday, January 11, 2015

Yoga | How Group Practice Matters

It is frigid Saturday morning in New York, single digit temperatures with the wind chill factor. Yet, I drag myself out of my apartment to attend the 9am yoga class at the Upper West Side Lululemon store —offering every Saturday morning a free yoga class. I practice yoga and other movement routines daily, in four  segments of 10-15 minutes each; but attending a group practice becomes a time challenge —specially on a painfully cold Saturday morning, with many tasks in the "to do list" after another difficult week. But today I was rewarded: during the class at lululemon there was a Eureka moment: my main insight was that the importance of becoming part of a yoga practices led by somebody else —even the affinities with own's practice are not that relevant. The learned lessons more specific to hatha yoga were also important for my own individual practice and teaching:

  • Development of twists into spiraling movements starting from bālāsana (child pose)
  • Transition from virabhadrāsana 3 (warrior pose 3) to seated position twisting the lifted leg
  • Spiraling movements in head stand
  • focus on different types of alignment in bhakti virabhadrasana (devotional warrior)
  • Ending a class with a restorative pose, which is not necessarily savasana
  • Working on development of yoga mat design 
Moving together with many other yoga practitioners helps, bringing the individual energy into a collective synergy: "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts". But another important insight was that every group practice can teach a lesson, beyond the scripted instructions of the script: the lesson I learned today was about to be open to others' suggestions, not only in yoga but in life.