Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yoga Passbook 2011 - Day 3 (Go Yoga/Hipsterville)

Go Yoga 112 N. 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Last Thursday’s yoga class was so challenging that it took me two days to recover. LOL! Okay I’m just kidding…sort of.

Last Thursday I had a Reiki client and I wanted to go to class right afterward instead of going home and having to wait until the evening. So I searched my book and found Go Yoga in Williamsburg. I prayed the G train would be in my favor and that my client would be on time since I practice in Cobble Hill and the class was in Williamsburg. Well, my client wasn’t quite on time, but the G train was in my favor.

As soon as I finished up I headed to Smith – 9th Street to catch the train. I had to take the G to Metropolitatin and then switch for the L to Bedford, the heart of hipsterville.

For those of you reading this who don’t know about Williamsburg it is the land of the hipsters during the week college students hanging out on weekend. Some would say it’s one of the cooler neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The heart of indie rock, but now I’m think it’s a bit over run with people who are trying to live in the “cool” part of town, which makes it totally uncool. But hey, I didn’t have to live there I only had to go to yoga.

Go Yoga is on one of the main drags in Williamsburg, North 6th street. I used to hang down there a lot when it was actually hip and before Galapagos moved to Dumbo.

The class started at 3:30pm and thanks to gentrification, the G train actually came and I got down to the area pretty quickly. Those of you who know, know that there was a time when the G would never come.

The 3:30pm class was an Ashtanga class (Click HERE for more info on Ashtanga Yoga). I hadn’t taken Astanga in a really long time, but honestly after the class started I was wondering if I had ever taken it at all. I have taken a lot of yoga and I am pretty well versed in all things yoga, but I was in for a surprise.

When I got to the spot I was the first one there. I filled out the usual first time paperwork, checked in with my passbook, put my things in the cubby and headed into the class. The studio is very quaint. It’s got a stone walkway as you enter, and the classroom has stained glass in the skylights and French doors in the front of the class. The doors don’t lead to a yard, but there is a bit of outdoor space. So you could see the snow on the ground. Must be really pretty when it is snowing or even raining.

I put my mat down and grabbed a blanket. I was about to get a block as well, but the teacher quickly told me that all I would need was the blanket. How would she know that? Hmmm... I went with it.

Since I was so early I sat on my mat and read for about 10 or 15 minutes before others stared showing up. In the end there were only three of us. I heard one woman talking to the teacher before class about her shoulder hurting. I only mention that because after we started class you would have NEVER known this woman was hurting. I know you are not supposed to be checking people out while in class, but during this class I felt I couldn’t help it and here’s why.

Class begins and I’m getting ready to settle into my seated position to get my Om on, when the teacher abruptly tells us to stand up, feet together, hands in prayer, then...Om (3x). Then she went into this call and response chant. This would usually not be a problem as I’m pretty good with Sanskrit at this point, but this time I was not ready. Well, let me put it this way. I’m black. I come from a long tradition of call and response, but the one thing you have to know about call and response is that no matter what language you are giving it in, you have to give it in bits and pieces so people can catch on. Then you can put it all together. You don’t do the whole verse at once and expect folks to just chime in like it’s no problem. So when this happened and all I could do was really hum the tune and not say the words, I just knew I had wandered into a more advanced class then I expected, or had I? I was totally puzzled and honestly frustrated out of the gate. My ego was getting the best of me for sure. LOL!

So we jump off the class with Surya Namskar A or in layman’s terms, Sun Salutation A. Okay. I can do this. So we go through the series a few times. Then we move on the Suya Namaskar B. Okay. I’m still good. We are moving at a fast pace. Straight to chaturanga no knees, chest, chin, but that’s cool. I’m with it. Then we start rolling through the postures.

What I didn’t know or remember about Astanga is that the system goes through a certain set of postures each time and I think they are the same every time. Also what I didn’t realize is that many of the postures of levels of difficulty from A to D. Maybe I shouldn’t say difficulty, but they postures become more challenging as the letters go up. They also include Vinyasas that are the usual chaturunga, upward dog, downward dog, but then there is also the jump throughs and jump backs from a seated position, where you would shoot your legs back behind you to plank or forward through your hands to a seated position. I don’t know if I would call a vinyasa and I don’t know if I’m making any damn sense, but damn it was work! We also always had jump forward to uttanasana at points. Now I know I’m throwing around whole lot of unknown words so some of your all and your mind is starting to hurt. Well now you know how I was feeling that day in class! LOL!

To top all that off, as I stated above, I thought I was really well versed in all things Sanskrit. Well the teacher started calling names of things in Sanskrit that I had never heard of so I have no idea what to do and she wasn’t trying to demonstrate so I was looking at the other two ladies in the room. Not really the best idea, but I needed a little guidance. Help really! When we got down the C and D levels of the postures in some cases my body was not having it. I looked over at the woman with the “hurt” shoulder and she was wrapped up like a pretzel! HA! All I could do was laugh to myself.

As I was looking around the room, struggling, I see the teaching helping the pretzel lady and I’m think, “she doesn’t need any help. I need the damn help!” HA! My ego was really coming out. I was thinking all kind of stuff on that class. “How come the teacher is not helping me? If she’s not going to demonstrate the poses, then what is she here for? Did some white guy make this mode of yoga up? I know she sees me struggling so why isn’t she offering modifications?” Now mind you, I know how to modify, but my ego was saying that “she” needed to tell me cuz “she is the teacher!” LOL! The teacher did come over and help me in the class. She was actually very nice, but wow the mind can be a monster.

I kept looking at the clock (bad) and I was sweating up a storm. People don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t get your sweat on in yoga. That’s a damn lie! I can’t even recall all that happened in that class, but I will say this. When we finally got to savasana I was so ready to lie down. HA! I was nailed to the floor!

Usually at the end of class the teacher will tell you to roll over to your right and then sit up and cross-legged position for you last Om of the class. Well not in this class. When savasana was over, the teach just said, “Thank you. Now go and rest.” Ha ha! I was like damn. No hug, no spooning, no goodnight kiss. It felt like, “Thank you and goodnight!”

So I gathered my mat, glasses and my ass up off the floor. Packed up all my things, went to the loo and put on my outside gear. The teacher came of and handed me a sheet with the Ashtaga poses on it and the long chant that she did that day. Apparently they do it every time so folks who come, know it.

She asked me if someone had got me the yoga passbook as a gift. Which really translated to asking, was this your first time doing yoga? Damn! I must have been looking crazy. LOL! It was all good though.

Originally I thought I would never go back to that class, but I think I will or maybe find another Ashtaga class. My ego is not going to beat this girl down. It’s yoga after all!