26 July, 2012

The angel is also in the details

Today was Power Vinyasa with Nicole at Be Luminous.

When I woke up today, I was tired, in spite of 9 hours of sleep. For a good chunk of the morning, I was thinking "How am I gonna do class at noon? I am just not feeling it today!" But, sure enough, I got there, and class was fine. There was no drag. No hesitation. No distraction. Another good class.

Today's series was quite similar to yesterday's series. And that was quite similar to the day before. Subtle differences. It was another tough class. Though, as I've said, it's a lot easier to weather a hard class at 90 degrees. But, in spite of the similarity between these classes, yesterday's class with Carley stood out as that rare experience of total awesomeness (the kind where I can't wait to go write a blog about it, which is probably a sort of distraction I need to learn to put at bay). And it made me think, not only is the devil in the details, but so is the angel. It wasn't the sequence that made yesterday's class transcendent. It was tiny little things that are hard to write about. I tried to capture them, and it was mostly about the words and the mood of the class. But it's even subtler than that. It's not exactly what is said. It's how it makes you feel. And chances are that different things make different people feel different ways. Vague, obvious, and unarguably true.

Today, in Nicole's class, I was trying to pick out what that defining thing was for me that made this class whatever it is, or was. And I couldn't grab on to it. She was a very good teacher. Her instructions were helpful. The pace was good. The energy was good. I guess the defining characteristic is that she lets the yoga do all the talking. There's no parallel channel of energy or thought going along for the ride with it. It's entirely, 100% "The Pose." And that's an interesting class, in its own right. When I contrast that with the majority of my experiences, especially in Power Vinyasa, there's almost invariably a "coloration" to the class, which is a reflection of the instructor's own philosophy or view on practice. Lots of spirituality. Lots of inspirational words. Occasionally life stories. Occasionally readings from literature or self-help books. Most of the classes we take are Yoga + {Something}. Nicole was simply Yoga. I love the various "somethings" that we get in the Vinyasa classes, and it's something that sets the style apart from Hatha for me. But I guess it was kind of interesting to see that, left with only pure Vinyasa yoga, and no decorations... left with nothing extra except what was happening in my body, my mind, my breath, the room... it was still a great class. A little harder to write a romantic story about it. But very real.

Thank you, Nicole, for showing me that there are many ways to have a great class.


  1. How is Be Luminous? I practice daily at Urban Yoga Spa and occasionally Haute Yoga Queen Anne. UYS is getting SO busy nowadays sometimes I want to go somewhere a little smaller. Do you like it?

    1. If you're at UYS every day, and you love Cassandra, we must have taken a lot of classes together! Saw your blog, too, and I like it. Looks much nicer than mine.

      As to your question, I have so far only gone to BL at lunch, and classes are not overfilled. I do not know how crowded they are in the evening. I suggest checking it out, though, as it's quite nice. They have a pretty good promo for people to check out the studio.

  2. Oh cool! Thank you I just started blogging a couple days ago, I'm not sure I'm as insightful as you though which is what really matters right? :) Yeah I love Cassandra, she inspires me so much she's part of what got me hooked on UYS! I love how studios always have those cheaper introductory offers I think I will check it out. I might end up spending the rest at whole foods though!