Sunday, November 8, 2009

Initial Judgments Aside


On the first night of a yoga workshop with Rusty Wells, he reminded me a little bit of Robert Duvall in The Apostle. He was stamping and singing with a fervor that startled me. That night reminded me of some kind of Christian revival in Sanskrit. The experience challenged my sensibilities, to put it mildly...

When we were in dog pose we were instructed to lift one leg and place it right above the butt of the person next to us (I thought). Then his colleague came over and adjusted my foot so it touched my neighbor’s butt. I thought that was rather strange, and felt I should have the choice of not touching this other person’s butt if I didn’t want to… Anyway, maybe I was missing something here or I simply didn’t get it.

The next morning I considered whether I should go back, and spent some time complaining about it internally. I found myself wondering if it was “real yoga.” Then I asked myself the question: What is real yoga? What came to me was the following: Real yoga is opening your heart to another viewpoint. So I went back and I’m very glad and grateful I did.

The Saturday sessions may have been the most physically intense yoga experiences I have ever had. That in itself is kind of cool. His vinyasa yoga instruction has an accuracy and speed that made the class at times seem like vinyasa on steroids. The music had a relentless beat that helped energize the poses when energy was waning. It’s also weird to me that when I looked around people would be in yoga poses moving to the beat of the music, and I sometimes caught myself doing the same thing.

In the end I did find myself just kind of enjoying the wild ride.

3 comments:

YogaforCynics said...

Hmmm...a yoga teacher stomping around like a pentacostal minister and instructing people to put their feet on other people's butts in a class that's like vinyasa on steroids.... I haven't heard of this Rusty Wells, but he certainly sounds interesting...and I like your definition of yoga here...

Christine Claire Reed said...

Yes. I LOVE your definition of yoga here.

I am tired of people paying lip service to open mindedness but then judging HOW other people experience yoga.

Thanks, Brooks, for being so true to yourself and your path. :) You are an inspiration.

Michelle Myhre said...

Rusty is a very San Francisco teacher. I am curious how he translates in other environs, and like all of us, perhaps a bit is lost in translation. All I can say is this, take his class in SF and you will find bliss. All the dots connect here.

And yeah, Rusty yoga is vigorous yoga. The sweaty bits, not always my favorite part, but sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the wild ride...