Monday, August 04, 2008

There's yoga, and then there's Yoga

I went to yoga class at the chi-chi gym yesterday. It was so different than the yoga studio in India that Desi Knitter described so beautifully in Twists, II.
You can probably tell from the photos that it’s also not a place where Lululemon Athletica would find many customers. No mats, blocks, blankets, no “yoga pants.” The class costs me Rs.150 for 20-odd sessions, a total of about $3.75 for the whole month (yes, you read that right) at the current exchange rate. The difference in cost is enormous; there are many fancy-ass yoga classes in posh areas, but this is mercifully very basic, lower-middle-class and uncommercialised. And it kicks ASS! Most women wear kurtas and slacks, some t-shirts and slacks, and there’s one thin linoleum mat for all.
It’s the social atmosphere that is so different. For one, it’s not as solemn. No ritual namaste (which is anyway just ‘hi!’ in many Indian languages, namaskaar in Marathi); no invitation to center and ground yourself before the class, no getting in touch with your breathing. Interspersed with Mrs. Adkar’s instructions is continuous conversation during the asana sessions - recipes, speculation about why some folks have bunked the class for several days in a row, bitching about the power and water crises, anything.
Go visit her blog to see the fantastic photos of India. Also, congratulate her for earning tenure and see the Ogee Tunic (from Knitting Nature) that I also want to knit someday.

The instructor's cell phone rang during the guided meditation. She told us Namaste is a prayer. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't the yoga class I was seeking. I like the yogalates type classes that are just good stretches and core training without pretense. I wish it was more like the class that Desi Knitter found. Compare that gym's rate of $3.75 per month versus $200 per month. ($200/month also covers Mark and Iris and includes the rest of the stuff the gigantic chi-chi gym offers.)

(It didn't help that the instructor told us to visualize being in a puffy cloud in a blue sky which brought up all sorts of anxieties on how I haven't rewritten my paper on improving cloud recognition/characterization using signal to noise and excess phase information that is normally thrown out.)

After that anxiety-producing meditation session, I had to go in to the office for a couple of hours. Besides, I had wanted to swim afterwards but I was too hungry. After brunch at the club (yes, they have a healthy food restaurant inside), I went to the office. Two hours later, I went back to the club for spin class and a swim. Because I didn't need to rush back to feed Iris, I had time for a leisurely soak in the jacuzzi and meditation in the steam sauna. I showered, dressed and headed to Whole Foods.

Never shop Whole Foods hungry. 'Nuff said.

Still enjoying my freedom, I walked over to Borders and perused books and magazines until they closed the joint and kicked me out.

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly what you mean about yoga classes. One of the reasons I haven't taken it back up now that I am quite a long ways post-partum is that we moved to a new neighborhood, and I can't find a nearby class that "fits". I had a wonderful low key class in the old neighborhood. At one point, I actually thought I'd just drive back to that class (breaking my rules about keeping things local). But then I found out that the teacher had changed, anyway. So I continue to miss yoga....


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