Every Sunday morning, well... just about every Sunday morning, for the last 2 and a half or 3 years I have been going to yoga class in a nearby town. The "advanced" class (somehow our yogi named it wrong) throughout the year starts at 10:30AM, in the summer we start earlier and try to do yoga outside. Well it is supposed to start at 10:30, in actual fact we end up having a conversation about what happened this week and who did what until almost ten to eleven. But that's OK with all of us including the yogi.
She gets us to close our eyes and bring our thoughts into ourselves and we ohm once to start our practice.
Inevitably half way through the cat-cows we start talkin again. It's not that hard to have a conversation while doing cat-cows, or thread the needle or C-spine stretches for that matter. None of it takes a whole lot of energy or thought to do. Unless you're me and in that case thread the needle could end badly. I may be the only person I know who can fall over while kneeling on the ground with my head on the ground as well. But then that's vertigo for you. Balancing postures I ace, teddy bear head stand... no problemo. But the simple little low level thread the needle??? Well let's just say that everyone wants to be facing me while I do it just to see if I fall over this week. I use all of my abs in order to stay upright and have to really focus in order not to topple over.
I'm glad when we move on to the C-spine stretches and the donkey-kicks. Our yogi has wonderful and creative names for the assanas, or if she doesn't think of one then one of us will. I think donkey-kick is one of those names. But it is sooooo descriptive. One of my other favourites is dead-bug. We think the real name is actually happy baby and that is truly an accurate description but dead-bug is so much more interesting and warped. So we go with dead bug. We like to decompose at the end by doing chavasana.
We do dolphins which we and our abs take seriously and move on to down dog and then the superman series of poses which are good for the back. And we really like to try out new poses on people who have missed a few weeks. Such as the side bow pose which is really entertaining to watch someone trying to get into.... Picture someone one their stomach arched back and holding onto their ankles with their hands trying to roll over onto their sides... You could almost gut yourself laughing if you weren't trying so hard to roll over onto your side while holding onto your ankles too.
We do our sun salutations. Aschtanga-style. 4 A series and 3 B series and suffer when one particular person is not there. She counts for us. The rest of us lack the concentration to count to 4 and then 3. When she's not there we do it carefully, methodically and OUT LOUD! Other than that there is no taking in sun salutations for the most part. You have to really concentrate during sun salutations or you may just fall over trying to go from down dog to warrior 2. And that wouldn't be pretty.
Balance postures become almost competetive... OK not almost... OK not just the balance postures are competetive. Anything involving holding a pose for an extended period of time can become competive. Have you ever tried to hold a pose for as long as you can while laughing or trying NOT to crack up??? Yoga really does require concentration to pull it off the way it was meant to be done. We do our best and sometimes our best is better than others.
But our yogi is very understanding. We are her special class. She says she thinks she's lost control of the class and we tell her that this seems like a very un-yogi-like thought... having control and all. Somedays we do free style yoga. Somedays we let her have control for a little while and then we wrest it back from her.
After we're done decomposing we all go for lunch together and chat some more. I'm not sure I would make it through a conventional yoga class. I'd probably be kicked out for making too many comments or asking too many questions. So I have to say I'm glad to have found a social yoga class that accepts me for who I am. A vertigo challenged individual who struggles with thread the needle but who can do tree posture with her eyes closed... Well at least for a few seconds before the vertigo takes over again.