I was doing a mental inventory of how my practice went this week, composed of two evening vinyasa classes with Dana Cohen at Thrive Yoga. If my yogic intention for the year is “listening with my whole body,” my body was screaming “Why are you torturing me tonight!” I felt an almost combative resistance in my shoulders that made Warrior I and II a real struggle. But I could also sense that my breathing offered a depth that promised to counterbalance the weight of my heavy muscles and bones. Surfing the web at lunchtime today, I came across a November article in my hometown WashingtonPost.com Yoga Can Give You Strength, Balance, Flexibility. Isn’t That Enough?. Somehow, I had missed it. It helped put things in perspective:
My own sense, buttressed in talks with Willow Street owner Suzie Hurley and others, is that regular participation in yoga, regardless of the style or level, is going to produce at least two surefire benefits: It will identify and help strengthen weak points in your body, and it will help reawaken muscles that tend to be underused in even active people.
Howard Schneider, one of the Washington Post’s Misfit columnists, gives an excellent rundown of the relevance of yoga and other mindful disciplines to fitness. Of course, it helps that he has Suzie Hurley as a reference authority. I appreciated that he did not dip into the standard clichés about yoga (even good writers seem to recur to the pretzel metaphor all too easily).
By the way, Dana Cohen is an inspired teacher. I really enjoy her classes, which usually end with her signing a gospel or chanting a kirtan. She has been teaching at Thrive on an off-and-on basis for the past year — Rockville is her family’s home, but she seems to lead a nomadic life that leads her to the West Coast, India and beyond. Catch her while she’s in town by checking the Thrive Yoga online schedule. She also gives Thai yoga massages. The easiest way to contact her is giving Thrive a call.