Sunday, July 30, 2006


no fun: standing on your head in a meat locker

as the great northern hemispheric heatwave drags on another day -- this probably isn't as uncommon as we think, it's just that before we didn't have all these global weather maps on constant display, nor did we all travel everywhere each business quarter, making us ask questions like "just what is the high in prague today?" -- i'm almost looking forward to yoga.

all long-time yoga students quickly learn to love the summer. careful work on hot days does great things for most people's flexibility, with results that last through the winter.

but alas this new trend of bringing gym yoga into the studio is accelerating. gyms are as frigid as the morgue, and gym yoga is not only sloppy and injurious, but frustrating at those temperatures; in the cold it takes much longer to see flexibility improvements.

it's amazing how when i go to the studio i see people who are coming from a gym experience demand the yoga teachers crank up the air conditioning. then on the sidewalk they complain that they aren't "getting anywhere" in their poses.

duh. on two fronts: because of course yoga isn't about "pose attainment," but if that's all you're into, you sure ain't gonna get it that way.

thus i have to confess i've been more than a tad forthright recently about the whole chill issue in my classes. i now ostentatiously move to avoid the fans (fans + air-conditioning! can you believe it?).

when the teacher asks the class rhetorically if it's too hot, i deliberately emphasize my no. and i have even gone so far as to ask one particularly timid teacher who always bows the requests of these gym people if she would be so kind as to explain to us her idea of tapas.

(for you non-yoga students, it literally means heat, altho' like many other things in life, it's also a metaphor. . .for self-discipline. . .for showing up to class. . .on time! etc.)

look, i'm no bikram/hot yoga fan. a too-hot room with inexperienced students can lead to over-stretching, which can then lead to injury.

i have no problem with open windows and fans for those who need and want them. most yoga rooms, in my experience, naturally set themselves up into zones, depending on where the windows are and what direction the room faces anyway.

for example, the studio in which i do most of my class yoga is naturally hot in the back during evening classes, away from the windows. so those of us who love the heat hang in the back.

those who love cooler yoga go to the front where they can catch the window breeze and the fan circulation. this is all groovy, as everyone can place themselves in a micro-climate that suits them, like grapes.

my only gripe is these gym people, who arrive in the studio to demand challenging vinyasa classes but somehow think it's unnatural to sweat while doing yoga. . . after all, they come to the studio, want the yoga equivalent of a spinning workout, yet somehow think that a tough asana practice should be perspiration free?

and why do teachers give into them? as i often say, i can't wait for the current yoga fad to end. . .

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posted by fortune | 9:50 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 3 comments

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