In my enthusiasm to share Yoga with my classes it is easy to forget that part of the joy of the class is the space between the poses. Teaching a “2-3” class one day and a beginner class the next one has to be careful to adjust. What is the real difference between a “2-3” class and a beginner class? The pace of the class perhaps; the length of time spent on one side before switching; party poses? In the end they both work towards the same goal I believe, that mind release, the calm feeling that comes after the physical exertion.
My beginner’s class was 40 minutes in, we had finished the warm up and were half way through practicing warrior III using the wall for support.
“Do you think these walls used to be red?” a student asks.
“Um err …” yikes this is not the kind of question I am expecting. Ask me “Are my hips supposed to be level”, “Is my back supposed to be flat”, “Where should my head be” ……. but “what color were the walls?”, where did that come from?
A slight digression is needed here. I am almost completely color blind. I have no idea what color the walls are right now let alone previously. My only real clue is that this particular studio at Nandi Yoga is called the “blue room”. When you are color blind you tend to pick up on these subtle clues 🙂
Another student comes to the rescue, “shades of red perhaps?”. A long discussion follows about the color and it relative merits. I am mystified and somewhat in awe, it’s a world I can only imagine a world I cannot reach.
My friend and original inquisitor has a passion for design and decoration. She shares her world through her blog “Simplified Bee”. The blog posts give people a view into a different world, a world I appreciate is there but can only imagine. The question about the wall colors is not so strange perhaps given this context.
The real message of course was, “we need a rest”.
A pause, a pause between poses to contemplate another world.
Wait a minute that is the whole essence of Yoga. It’s not about the asana, it’s the pause in between the poses that is Yoga. One cannot throw out pose after pose and call it Yoga, that’s Yazzersize.
But there is a complication here the “advanced” class the 2-3 class don’t they want more asana, fast, harder. I am now reminded of a moment in a recent advanced class I was teaching. After a long sequence on one side we are part the way through the other side and I joke “who can remember what comes next?”. “Child’s pose” is the immediate reply.
The real message – “enough of this asana it’s time to pause for some Yoga”.
John Berg my mentor and good friend knows the power of the pause. He puts it to such great affect in his classes with mini savasans sprinkled between series poses. He tried to teach me it too but I have to thank my beginner’s class for allowing me to really get it.
I think understand now it’s not the asanas that make a great class, it’s the pauses in between the poses. The opportunity to glimpse into another world, one we may never really understand. The calm and relaxed feeling, that comes with each step towards the world of “Samadhi”.
Ok you can stop reading now but before you move on – pause.