I’ve been quite guilty of this.
A themed yoga class turns a practice into a deeply personal experience. You’ll carry it with you and continue to revisit the offering long after you’ve left the studio and gone about your day. If the message is one we’re receptive to hearing, that’s usually enough to hit us hard and insist on further contemplation.
Themed yoga classes offer us a wonderful way to continue our practice long after we’ve rolled up our mats
This one time, in yoga class, the teacher came in and asked each of us to reach into a basket with our eyes closed and take an item from within. I was so excited until I retrieved my item and saw it was a plastic car. One of those old matchbox racer types. It didn’t land right away, but once the instructor gave his dharma talk, it hit me like a wheel barrel full of bricks.
I had somewhere I needed to go and something very specific to do.
The whole class was about looking for signs. And they’re everywhere if we’re receptive. The woman on my right had a knitting needle placed at the top of her mat. The dude to my left was holding his item, a stress ball, and squeezing the living shit out of it. The instructor suggested we contemplate our chosen item and wait. He gave us time in quiet meditation to let the object speak to us. There was no music and no talking. I ran the little race car with the red stripes against a black background over my hand and up my arm, silently laughing about how silly I was being. Yet it felt so natural and ignited a spark.
The power of suggestion is often all we need to take action
Once we began to move, he’d bring us back to looking for signs from time to time. He didn’t mention it every single pose, nor every other. He’d wait until we landed in a posture he intended to help us stay in and investigate. He’d ask one question, and then quietly allow time for us to internally answer.
“How can you make this posture feel brand new to you?”
“Do you think you should change anything or just be inside the pose experience?”
“Are you missing something important here?”
“Should you possibly change your approach here?”
The instructor understood he’d planted a seed but didn’t need to over water it. He said just enough to help us find our own way to explore and interpret.
Yoga class themes help us pay attention to what’s important
That was my big take away. If we keep falling out of a balancing pose but continue to utilize the same approach and wind up with the same result, we’re ignoring something that needs to be acknowledged. When we stop for a second and give the information that’s right in front of our faces a chance to sink in, we can adjust and benefit from the newly absorbed data.
After this practice, I felt extra-observant. A private client canceled. Time opened up and allowed me to take a short trip to see an ailing friend. Later that same day, I received an email from another friend who lives in Atlanta. She decided to throw a silent auction and party to raise money and awareness for the same illness my friend is suffering from. I booked a flight within minutes.
Even if we try to ignore our needs and desires, they will eventually insist on our attention
If I had done a home practice that day, I wouldn’t have heard what I really needed to sit with. Making the excuse of being too busy to travel and attend to the people and things I love was now no longer possible.
The instructor understood that universal yoga class themes will hit everyone in different ways. I’m so curious about the knitting needle lady and the stress ball guy. How did they continue to practice after class?