11 July, 2013

New frontiers

Today was Flow Yoga with Patty Simon at Passion For Movement in Lahaina, Maui.

I arrived at the studio about 10 minutes before class was supposed to begin. The room was vacant, except for one woman sweeping the floor. This was Patty. I would later find out that the previous class, at 5pm, was canceled because nobody showed up. So, Patty was there, awaiting the attendees of the 6pm class. These ended up consisting of me and one other student, "CJ" who is also a yoga instructor at a hotel spa up the street. Patty did the entire class with us, so there were three of us in total.

The studio is in a small strip mall, and it's a medium-sized room, perhaps large enough to accommodate 12-15 students comfortably, or maybe 20 if they really packed the room. The desk with the office computer is in the corner of the studio, along with a sofa. There are mirrors along the front wall, with some Sanskrit-ish painting on the wall above the mirror. It's a new studio, I am told.

Before class started, it was just Patty and me in the room and she asked me a bit about what type of yoga I practice, so I told her. She told me about her philosophy, and it sounded like it would be reasonably familiar practice for me. CJ showed up at the last minute, and we actually started class about 10 minutes late, due to conversations, attempts at credit card validation, and the overall air of leisure among people that aren't in a particular hurry to be anywhere else. Very different from the city feel, in a good way.

When we began, Patty mentioned she had been reading about the 8 Limbs of yoga, and she mentioned that the first limb is the "yamas," a series of "restraints," and that the first of these yamas is to "do no harm" (also referred to as "non-violence"). She suggested that, first in foremost in our practice, we should do no harm to ourselves, and recognize and honor our limits. Without this, there can be nothing further. Also, we should seek to exercise this both on and off our mats. I liked that she started class this way, because it gave me a high degree of confidence that I was not attending an aerobics class. I'd already had a sense of this, because Patty had made a few humorous comments about some of the other styles of "yoga" taught at various studios, including this one. Some styles are such mixed methods, including aerobics, pilates, and other things, that they almost cease to be "yoga" because it's all about getting a workout. As you can imagine, this resonated for me as well, given my preferences, and my past experiences.

Class was a slow flow, we did little in the way of complete sun salutations, though we did perform all of the various parts of these sequences, in partial, at various points. But typically, they were strung together with other poses as well. The series was familiar, and combined a blend of standing and seated postures, as well as both Crow and Side Crow, the latter of which I made my best effort at attempting, but I had a hard time getting enough twist in my upper body to do it comfortably.

The studio was not heated, and there were ceiling fans and the door was cracked, keeping the air cool in the room the entire time. I have to say, I didn't even really sweat, which is incredibly unusual for me. At the end of class, as we lay in Savasana, Patty put small cloths with aromatherapy over our foreheads, and made some small adjustments to our heads, necks, feet. She also sprayed the air with another scent. We had ylang ylang, lavender, bergamot, geranium. It was peaceful.

After class, I talked to Patty some more about the other classes offered during the week. This studio offers a wide variety of yoga styles. I may spend a lot of time there. We also talked about potentially going on a hike over the weekend, but I still need to decide if that will work for my schedule, and if I am properly equipped for the proposed hike which sounds pretty serious.

At the start of class, she asked us to set an intention. When I arrived here in Maui today, I was immediately hit with that sensation of "Oh no, I am alone here! What am I doing?! How am I going to make it an entire week?!" My intention at the start of class today was to just give myself a chance to settle down and work through these emotions without letting them consume me. This is what I do. I am familiar with that pattern. And I don't need to spiral in it.

Everything will be alright.

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