I have a complicated relationship with yoga. I like it. I feel like it has enriched my life, but I'm not gaga about it the way some people are. I don't study yoga. I go to a once a week yoga class. I always feel better after yoga, but in a much more subtle way than I feel after a dance class for example.
During and after dancing I feel waves of pure joy. During yoga I experience repetitive waves of aggravation and frustration, my own smallness (but sometimes my own largeness), moments of peace and occasional personal insights and epiphanies. After dance, I feel sure that I love dancing. After yoga I feel grounded, lighter and hungry. See what I mean about subtleties?
I don't go to one of those classes with mirrors or where students are wearing the latest gear. It's all about the breathing and undoing and going inward, or so our respected teacher tells us. It is only because of the wisdom exuded by my yoga teacher that I don't judge myself too harshly for not becoming a full-time enlightened yogi or for the erratic, all too human thoughts that pass through my mind when I'm supposed to be fully present in the pose.
Years ago, while we were all upside down in Downward Dog someone called out "How long will it take to like Downward Dog?" I did the math in my upside down head and realized I'd been doing the pose for a decade and had just come to a place of not hating it. I didn't call out "ten years!" to my labouring classmate. (Am I the only one who expends a lot of energy every class stopping myself from NOT blurting out my thoughts?) But let me say to that man now, wherever you are Sir: "TEN YEARS MY FRIEND, TEN YEARS!"
I try to practice regularly at home. I don't always, but when I do, my body and sometimes my soul thanks me for it. Here, in no particular order are thoughts I have had during yoga classes: