Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New York, what's going on here?

I have now been in New York for one year and it has been so difficult for me to find a Yoga school/teacher/class that matches what I have idolized in my previous teacher out of Rhode Island. My question is, was I dreaming? Have I just raised the bar so high for a yoga teacher that it is impossible for me to find what I’m looking for? It can’t be. 
I think the problem for many yoga school’s and teachers is that they don’t clearly define to what extent they are going to honor the spirituality of yoga and to what extent they will teach it as a physical practice. My previous teacher...we’ll call him “Ed”, somehow struck the perfect balance between the two. he was a student of Baptiste Power Yoga and taught 1hr to 1hr and half heated vinyasa flow classes that required immense amounts of stamina and focus. If you were attending yoga simply to get into shape, this class would do that for you. 
“Ed”, however, was also a student of “A Crash Course in Miracles”...which, I am ashamed to admit, I have yet to read. He presented it as a sort of “catch all” for all the wonderful ideas and tenets that all religions express. It was religion without all the bullshit that religions require...and all the terrible history that comes along with them. “Ed” didn’t preach, but he clearly saw the connection between this spirituality and the spirituality of yoga. He also realized that yoga is a practice that ultimately is helping us to be in the moment; when you’re standing for 10 breaths in Warrior II, sweating buckets, arms shaking, struggling to hold onto your ujjay breath...it’s hard to think about anything but exactly what is happening in that moment. “Ed” saw that and used it as an opportunity to draw parallels between these moments of distress that our bodies experience, and the moments of distress that our minds experience in everyday life. He showed us how to take our yoga practice outside of the classroom and apply it to our lives. He was not perfect, but he was capable of seeing how he and “we” could be better. 
Maybe my yoga standard is high, but I don’t think I’m looking for anything too ridiculous. I want a solid yoga practice that makes my body strong in a healthy and long lasting way and a teacher that is able to guide me to mindful living through my practice. They don’t have to be perfect...in fact, I don’t think it would work if they were. I don’t want insincere spirituality, as if we all need to pretend we wish we were in India, 
and I don’t want straight up exercise....I can muscle through the gym rats if that’s what I’m looking for.

(This is not what I'm looking for. "Gym mind" as in...'5 more, c'mon , you can do it!" is not conducive to the yogic mind)

 I just thought, in a city as diverse as New York City, it wouldn’t be that hard to find a sincere, effective yoga class. I guess I’ll just keep looking...or maybe “Ed” will come to NYC? 

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