It’s Sunday morning and I am outside on my deck. This may not seem like a remarkable thing, but I am outside at 8 o’clock doing yoga. I am pointed in the direction of the sun doing sun salutations. This is the first time I have done yoga outside in many years. But the weather is warm and I am practicing my sun salutations in preparation for class later in the day. Class begins at 12:30 and ends at 6:30. I’m so excited about going the Teacher Training Program at Yoga-Movement.
I start with sun salutations and work into standing poses, the vigorous kind that make your arms and legs tired and I love every minute of it. I hear the birds singing and in the poses that require me to look up, I can see the them flying through the sky. In my next round of sun salutation I see a Cooper’s Hawk fly into the backyard. They know the birds gather in my yard to eat and drink and they prey on my little feathered friends. I yell out and the hawk flew away. Not today or at least not while I’m doing yoga.
I transition from sun salutions to hip openers on the floor and watch the sky again. I see the red finches fly and land in three in the redwood trees around the yard. Next I see the yellow finches do the same thing. Funny, always in threes.
It’s a wonderful thing to practice outside. The air is invigorating. The early morning practice energizes me. I end my practice with Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) and my feet finally feel the sunshine hit them while they are in the air.
I go to teacher training one weekend a month for a year. I practice almost every day on my own, I go to class once a week and I have homework. Sometimes I’m so disappointed that I have to work during the week because I know there’s so much to learn with yoga.
Finally, it’s time for class. I learn that yoga is so much more than asana. Asana (Sanskrit for poses) is actually a very minor part of the entire picture of yoga. In America, we have changed yoga to just the asana practice. We have gotten away from the roots. Maybe because if we talk about spirituality, people will reject yoga. You don’t have to follow Hinduism to practice yoga! The eight limbs of yoga are so very similar to other teachings. Basically, don’t do bad things and practice good habits.
Wait, where did I leave off? American’s are notorious for changing things to fit to our model of making money. We take every opportunity to extract part of something and make it mainstream and profitable. I have to admit, I’m just as guilty. Before class, I stopped at the Lululemon store in Walnut Creek. I had outdated clothes, some of my yoga wear is 10 years old. What would my classmates think of me outdated clothes?
After my clothing obsession, I finally made it to class and saw that I am part of the Americanization too. While I am learning the eight limbs of yoga, at least I will look good!