My Friday night class this week is a small group, all with a very strong practice. They are all “Type A”s it seems and, as it turned out, very competitive. Plenty of arm balances in the warm up including both variations of Eka Pada Koundiyanasana (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya), Crow, side crow, two variations of side crow and various combination transitions are not enough to slow their enthusiasm. My long stretch sequence included reverse warrior into handstand (at the wall). This is where the mutiny started. No one wanted to come down from handstand and complete the rest of the sequence.
Not for the first time in a class I was losing control. The session rapidly switches to an arm balance workshop. Being a little on the competitive side myself I switch gears. Feathered Peacock, Scorpion, Shoulder pressure pose, Firefly and even Fierce bird (which I have never taught or even demonstrated before). Let’s find their breaking point. I know, very Yogic of me. This has probably got me struck of many a Yoga dinner invite list:)
Finally we slow down but even then I pull out, “The bird that feeds on raindrops” (Kapinjulasana), and an arm balance from wide legged forward fold. OK everyone is calming down now, Lotus pose. Oh wait there is an arm balance here too, Scales. Even more carried away now I demonstrate the variation where you thread the arms through the Lotus legs and find the arm balance. Finally a pose no one, including myself, if I am honest, can do.
This was not a 2-3 class this was an all out level 3, Type A only, party pose extravaganza. We could only have done it because of the size and strength of the group too. A different group of people, in number or ability, and the class would have been very different. There in lies a lot of the difference between the levels of the classes. It really depends on who shows up.
The 2-3 class, as with any other, ends with Savasana. No competition there you might think, but these guys need to win. After we come out of savasana I announce, “The winner is the person who did not hear the train barreling through the railway crossing during meditation.
Beyond all the poses the objective of yoga is “The cessation of the fluctuations of the mind” If you can find that it really doesn’t matter what level the class advertises itself to be. “Yeh right!” On Friday night’s there’s winning, or there’s always next week.