Don’t Let a Yoga Class Hijack Your Yoga

FullSizeRender (4)

Tonight there were a few people in Power Yoga that were anxious about it. They signed up for the Yoga Challenge but they were leery about this particular class. One of these people was Liz. So I wrote this post to her, and to anyone who has found themselves in the deep end of the pool in a yoga class.

Dear Liz,

Don’t let the Power hijack your Yoga. Don’t let other people in the class hijack your yoga. In a big class setting, you have to own your practice.

You are responsible for keeping your own attention on your own body. Do not not let a yoga teacher, or that student on the mat in front of you, hijack your power, your brain, your intention.

It’s really hard.

Everyone around you is, or seems to be, rocking it. And you?  You’re falling and sweating and struggling. Everybody else is in the pocket. And you? You’re panting and flailing, and questioning the point of this, and your place in this scene.

Because this IS a scene. This is the “Power Yoga” scene and you are feeling like you are clearly NOT cutting it.

The “Power Yoga” has hijacked your yoga.

But here’s the thing: at any moment in this sweat fest, you can reframe it. You can, if you remember to do it, switch glasses. You can put on those magnifying classes right there on your mat, and focus them inside. You can pause, and put yourself in slo-mo for awhile.

You can work on precision and focus. You can breathe in. You can breathe out.

You can be calm and human.

You can make conscious choices, seek flow, extend your abilities.

Then, when the storm is over, you can restore yourself.

So don’t do what you’re told, do yourself. Your best self. Your perfectly imperfect self. Your alive self.

Anyone can do Power Yoga. As long as they stay in their power.

Love you,


Witnessing Stillness

I always feel privileged to be a yoga teacher: to watch students, to watch over them, to encourage and guide them.

Tonight there was a nice big crowd for Power Yoga. All of my best students, all the good breathers.

I led a lot of suns and variations on suns. It was intense. And because it was, savasana was particularly welcome.

And particularly deep.

As alive they were in the heat of their practice, they were that dead during savasana. Not a body moved. No one sniffed, or shifted, or twitched or itched.

I sat and watched over them. I watched their stillness. As the minutes passed, the room deepened. The silence became a real presence, hanging over each body, watching them, encouraging them ever deeper into secret places I could not imagine.

Not Your Mother’s Yoga

I was cruising down State St in Ithaca after my lunch with Zee and there was a sandwich board on the street announcing a new yoga studio: Mighty Yoga.

It obviously caught my eye and I picked up the flyer.  It’s a Power Yoga place and their tag line?  “Not your mother’s yoga.”

They are obviously marketing to the college students who want more from their yoga class than an easy stretch class followed by savasana.

Mighty Yoga.

Power Yoga.

Bring a water bottle and towel it said.  I know what’s going to happen there: Lot’s of suns and vinyasa with some advanced asanas thrown in to scare you, humble you, and make you respect it so you’ll come back next time just to see if you can do it.

But my question is this: why isn’t this for your mother?  Who’s mother are they referring to here?  Because I have plenty of mothers (and some grandmothers) in my classes who can do Power Yoga with advanced asanas, sun sequences, killer vinyasas and they don’t even blink.  Most of them never need a towel.

Not your mother’s yoga?  Must be pretty lame-o yoga, then.

They’ve obviously never seen a Power Mother.  Now I’m fantasizing about taking a bunch of my (ahem) “mothers” to crash that Mighty  Let’s take these Mighty Yoga pups to school, muthahs!

“Not your mother’s yoga” indeed.  Pth.