People come to yoga class with all kinds of bodies and limitations, some obvious and others which the body owner is not aware of.
The Washington Post – Yoga for larger bodies:
“But Carlin still adored yoga, and in 2010, she went ahead with her plan to take teacher training, despite being the only “larger person” in the program. Beyond lessons on prenatal yoga that required her fellow trainees to strap big pillows to their bellies, most had no firsthand experience working with different bodies.”
Annie Carlin, the yoga instructor in question, teaches used to teach in DC, but has now moved back to Brooklyn. The yoga scene can seem to be commandeered by the slender and flexible, but others need it to, as this article shows. More teachers need to be aware of the diverse factors that affect how a person approaches yoga. Not all studios can offer classes exclusively for “larger bodies,” but they can offer modifications of poses. Annie has a website, Supportive Yoga, to provide the details missing from the news article and offer contact information and class scheduling.
Last night, I went to a hot yoga class (intermediate) with Krista Block at Thrive. Fewer people showed up than usual for an evening class at Thrive, only four, perhaps because it was one of the first hot spring days in Washington and daylight seemed to stretch on forever. Krista did not back off, though; she led her usual up-pace session, strong on repeated vinyasa sequences that grow longer with each iteration, adding an additional pose to extend and deepen the work. I had to stop a couple of times, but I did not get knocked completely off despite my lack of exposure to hot classes over the past few months. After 45 minutes of vinyasa, we went into inversions and mat work, with long stretches.
While we were in the final, restorative poses, Krista said that tapas (Sanskrit word meaning “heat”) in yoga practice is the inner heat that helps us get the mental knots out of our system, in other words, a practice of purification. It also generates a lot of sweat. I walked out of the class without any muscle soreness or discomfort, just a sensation of whole-body exertion. When I got back in my car, I took a couple of long sips of water and some deep breaths before backing out because this intensity of practice can leave you in a more inwardly oriented state, not the best condition for driving in DC traffic.
I got home, had a light meal, took out the garbage, and showered. I realized that there was little chance of doing any writing or other work. My body and mind had been squeezed of energy and mental knots. I went to bed to complete the last phase of purification, a deep, restful sleep that purges the residue that the yoga practice had left.
It’s here again! Thirty seven DC yoga studios are joining forces to encourage people to take to the mat.
DC Yoga Week 2013 – dc community yoga
The DC Community of Yoga (DCCY) is hosting the 8th Annual DC Yoga Week and Yoga on the Mall Monday, April 29 thru Sunday, May 5. This means participating studios will be offering FREE and $5 classes daily – all week long!
If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to explore other yoga studios and styles, now’s your chance because of free or low-cost classes. The weather should be good for Sunday when you can catch Yoga on the Mall.
This week, I am at an undisclosed location on the Delmarva peninsula, with wife, yoga mat, laptop, notebooks, and reading matter, and will be unable to take advantage of discounted rates and open doors. I may get to DC in time for the weekend activities.
In a real media milestone in Washington, DC, yoga has made it on to the pages of one of the mainstays of congressional politics, Roll Call, (I can’t say that this is the first time that Roll Call has done a yoga story; see the listing below):
Roll Call Around the Hill: The Yoga of Rules: Mysore Yoga Expands in D.C. “Mysore yoga is an individual practice within a group setting. Students do a set of poses in a prescribed order with a specified stopping point, as determined by the instructor. The poses, called ‘asanas,’ are divided into six series; most students stay within the first two series, called primary and intermediate. Students new to Mysore (even those with an established yoga practice) are given a short set of poses to do before they are sent home with instructions to come back the next day. And the following day. And the day after that.”
This was a feature-length article requiring three web pages. It did not cover Ashtanga yoga just as the latest fad on the Hill (Mysore practice is anything but faddish, as my friend Donavan Wilson can testify to.). It went to the trouble of explaining why Mysore practice is different from the garden-variety vinyasa or hatha class. The story mentioned five studios offering the Mysore practice so it’s not just a favor for a friend. I did not even know there were six places offering Mysore. Rebecca Gale, the reporter, quotes leading Ashtanga teachers in DC (Peg Mulqueen, Keith Moore, Jen Rene, Tova Steiner and David Ingalls).
Of course, when I did a search for “yoga” in the Roll Call archive, I found 61 articles, some of which probably only use the term in passing or as a metaphor. But I did find some substantial stories that showed that Roll Call has not ignored the topic. Just another sign that yoga is seaping into the US mainstream culture. I should also clarify that the online version of a publication may different substantially from the print edition:
Inspired Yoga is getting into the swing of Obama Inauguration with Inaugurating the Sacred featuring master teacher Saul David Raye, stretching from today, January 15 to Monday, January 19. There are too many sessions to mention here specifically (yoga, Thai massage, meditation, chanting). In addition, there’s an Om Inaugural Ball on Sunday evening, January 18. Many out-of-town guests will be showing up at Inspired Yoga. More power to them. Recently, the studio and its owner director, Kyra Anastasia Sudofsky, were featured on CNN about the relief that yoga provides stressed out Washingtonians.