Recently, Madelynn, my 13 year old daughter, came to one of my vinyasa flow classes. It's a challenging class that pairs breath with flowing movement from one posture to the next. Later that evening, during dinner, she was giving her feedback and asking questions about the class. One of her comments was, "It seems like we just did the same things over and over a lot."
"That's right." I replied.
"But, isn't that kind of boring?" She asked. "I mean, I don't want to be rude, but, you know...?"
"Yeah, I know." I chuckled. "I get it, and it's a really good question. I'm always grateful when someone risks 'being rude' to ask me an insightful question. Chances are, if you're wondering that, someone else is too, but they might not be comfortable asking. So, thank you!"
In my vinyasa classes, I offer, as a warm up, repeated Sun Salutations A and B. This is no easy task for the body or mind. When we first begin to learn the poses of yoga and especially a challenging practice like vinyasa, most of our attention and intention goes into crafting the poses, staying upright, and being able to breathe...just breathe, nevermind even coordinating the breath with the movement. It's a lot of work, at first, and it can be hard to understand why people enjoy yoga so much. With time, and practice, the body learns the movements and postures. Muscles, nerves, joints and bones create imprints and memories of the postures and it becomes a lot more natural and, eventually, really enjoyable. It no longer feels like work. When your body learns to move through the postures without so much intention on your part, you can begin to really coordinate the breath with the flow. That's when the magic happens. I remember the first time I did 108 sun salutations (yes, in a row!). At first it was easy, it felt great. Then I began to get tired. Then I got really tired! I began to listen to myself complaining about what was happening, and realized how funny it was. Once I let go of the complaining, I got my second wind and experienced an intense feeling of invigoration and joy. Once that passed, there was nothing at all. I was in a state of meditation. There was no longer me doing poses and breathing. There was only breath and movement. That is all there was of me...breath and movement. It was an indescribable feeling of peace. Anyone who has ever experienced it needs no description. You know precisely what I'm talking about. Moving meditation. I offer repeating sun salutions to my students so that they can do the initial work of creating memory within the body and possibly have an opportunity to "get over the whole thing" and just be the movement and the breath. It is glorious!
Peace and Love to You,