28 April, 2013

Namaste in Motown

Today was Vinyasa with Juliet Oppenheim at Yoga Shelter in Detroit.

The best thing about doing yoga while traveling is having one of those wonderful experiences that makes you realize how universal "the practice" is. The worst thing about doing yoga while traveling is when you encounter a fantastic teacher, but you know you may not have another opportunity to take class with that teacher. But, of course, that's just another reminder about letting go. That said, I still am happy to immortalize the experience here.

Yoga Shelter is a small chain of studios in Detroit. It's surprising how rich of a community of yoga there is in a city that was supposedly in shambles. There's dining. There's sports. There's culture. There's education. There's good coffee. And, sure enough, there's yoga.

The studio was clean and small, light and airy, with light wood floors. Temperature in the mid 80s. Juliet, from the very first moments of class, was clearly one of those magical inspired teachers, and there was an immediate confidence instilled that this would be a good place to practice.

She said "Start in whatever position helps you to get grounded. Seated. Child's Pose. Savasana. Some of you are probably already wondering what's going on here. But you can choose whatever helps you start to find that connection to the breath."

Though there were options, she spoke with a clarity of purpose.

The class consisted of about 4 separate series of fairly elaborate flows. Each flow would be executed once in a deep slow guided fashion, once guided at the rhythm of breath, and then 1-3 more times unguided. Though we went to our own pace, it seemed like chunks of the class remained relatively "in sync" because of the cues and direction she had already provided.

I like that the yoga is here. In Detroit. There were students. There were some people who seemed like locals.

I had a decent practice except that my mat, sans towel, became progressively slicker and slicker until I was apprehensive about tearing a groin muscle in a crescent lunge or Warrior II. But fortunately I did not.

As much as I liked the class, I felt isolated on my mat today. That's just where I was internally. I noticed little besides the person right in front of me, with whom I was mostly in sync. But I felt alone. Not sore. Not anxious. Not out of the moment.

Just separate.

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