My Yoga Diaries – Session 2: Intro Vinyasa

Allistair Santiago

Man in Child's PoseWell, I definitely wasn’t as anxious about this second session. I still found I had to pay close attention to the instructor, and I was still cumbersomely self-conscious. I still suffered from shaking, straining muscles, but I found myself looking forward to the glorious reward at the end of the class: a good lie-down.

After the warm-up and breathing exercises, we went through Sun Salutation I and Sun Salutation II, each of which is a flow of poses and stretches culminating in a wide-armed greeting to the sun. Both move between standing and getting down on to all four’s. The Downward Dog has definitely declared itself my nemesis. I remember it from Monday and I still can’t hold that pose for long at all. I kept having to revert to the Child’s Pose for a break.

What I found remarkable today was the kind of personal awareness that is required for Yoga – and I don’t mean anything mystical by that. I simply mean that Yoga demands that you be aware of where your muscles are and what they’re doing at any given time. It’s not enough to trust your motions to your subconscious brain, allowing it to take over as we do normally. You have to think – really think – about where you’re moving to, where you’re moving from, how you’re extending, which muscles are compressing, which are extending, and which are twisting. And don’t forget to keep breathing slowly, rhythmically. Like I said, an immense amount to keep track of, and all of it internal.

This made me realize that my flexibility is woefully limited. Everyone in the class seemed to be able to grab their elbows above their heads, wrapping their forearms over their crown, all the while keeping the shoulders down and the back open. For me, everything crunches in towards my neck and I still can’t get my arms over my head. I’m sure it’ll come in time, but for now, it’s kind of sad.

At one point, we had to roll onto our backs and grab our feet, keeping the tailbone and shoulders on the ground. Not possible. I felt like an upended turtle, spinning and tipping over on my rounded spine. The embarrassment got to be too much and I opted to sit quietly while everyone else finished the pose.

As promised, the end of the session was great. It was quiet and dark but this time, instead of playing music from a disc, our instructor, all alone, started singing – or chanting really, though it was more melodious than a simple chant. You’d think it would be cheesy or something. Kind of tacky, maybe. But let me tell you, she had pipes! She could sing and she pulled it off. I was impressed, maybe even a little moved.

I’m tired again now. Segovia says he’s hooked already. I’m not hooked, not yet. I do, however, seem to be gradually warming up to the idea of coming here regularly.

We’ll see how it goes, one session at a time.

My Yoga Diaries:

[tags]yoga diary, child’s pose, downward dog, lie-down, sun salutation, muscle extensions, personal awareness[/tags]

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