The 30 Day Yoga Challenge has developed in a way that’s been rather unexpected. I’ve been making a conscious effort to not only do (some) yoga every day, but to reach out to some new and different types of yoga, as well. I decided that simply slogging though the same old sessions in rapid succession, while certainly not valueless, just wasn’t the best possible use of precious discretionary time. When I saw the Facebook Invite from a Non-blob Bootcamper for Full Moon Yoga, I was already planning my usual Monday night studio visit. But, convinced that the yoga you don’t know is better than the yoga you know, I readily agreed to attend.
I walked up just as class was starting and – shocked to see about fifty people -I unrolled my mat in a hurry and settled down in a thick patch of freshly mown grass. This was a Hatha class, so the flow was tender but deliberate. The instructor was equal parts charming, informative, and vaguely British, all of which combined to make me feel that this entire experience was ripped straight from the morning shower brainstorming session of some NPR producer (but in a good way). Most of what I thought throughout the class was: “Why aren’t more classes outside?” I’ve come to truly cherish my Monday studio class as an opportunity to do yoga in a peaceful space that I really love. From the twinkly christmas lights and soothing paper lanterns, to the spacious hardwood floors, I’ve always felt that the studio added a special element to the practice. And it’s not that this was my first outdoor class, but for some reason this particular session really made the most of the outdoor elements.
Practicing outside, with so many people, and with so many different people, reminded me a just a bit of what yoga is supposed to be all about: being different, being one, being you, and just being. It’s weird, when you’re beneath a vast sky, high above a sprawling view, and rolling fifty deep. You feel huge, enormous, and similar to your surroundings in a vast and sprawling way. But at the very same time you feel that you are a part of something instead of being the only thing. You feel connected, and not subjected. Isn’t it odd that the less you focus on yourself, the more your feel like yourself?
Class ended with a fifteen-minute savasanah, which I – for one – had never really attempted. It didn’t even cross my mind then, as it does now, that we must have looked like the second coming of the Branch Davidians all laid out on the lawn like that. At the time I really wasn’t filing snarky comments in my to-be-blogged Rolodex of Snark. I was actually rather comforted by the peace imparted on me by the just resting beneath a darkening pink sky. Staring up into the sherbet stripes melting gently into nights nearing navy blue, divided only by the rare passing brush stroke of an ink-wisp bird, I felt calmed, if not entirely “worked out.” It was a welcome break from the reaching, driving, striving, yang of so many post-work weekday sessions. It opened my mind ever so slightly to the idea that restfulness is not the same as laziness. Mindful stillness is still hard work, but – and it should come as no surprise – the rest was well worth the work.