Sunday morning yoga

Yesterday, after yoga, one of my students complimented me for the class. She said that one of the things that she likes about the way that I teach is the pace. She likes to pray on Sunday mornings, and in my class, she can practice yoga and prayer at the same time.

While I'm not conventionally religious, other students have described my classes as spiritual.

I think it is due, simply, because my classes are quiet, measured, and those sensations are found more often in a religious setting than in everyday life. We always begin by sitting for a few minutes, focusing on the breath and beginning to still the mind. We always end with Savasana, and sometimes I play music, and sometimes I have the students rest with silence. In between, I play classical music more often than contemporary yoga music; I have the students hold one pose for an extended period rather than moving quickly from one pose to the next; and I try to offer a little insight into the meaning and philosophy of yoga.

Lately, I've been reading one of the yoga sutras by Patanjali aloud as we sit at the end of class. It's been interesting for me, and hopefully, for my students. Many yoga teachers and texts refer to the Sutras, which are a series of aphoristic statements about yoga made by a sage some 2000 years ago. The most oft-quoted sutra, or thread, is the first. Donna Farhi, in Bringing Yoga to Life, cites this translation: "Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence" (32).

But in my experience, it is rare to hear any of the other sutras quoted. I try to keep my presentation light, sometimes just reading the verse aloud, and sometimes offering a small explanation.

This week, before class, I searched quickly for a sutra about time. And did not see any, which makes me wonder if the struggle to find time for yoga, or meditation, or any of those other endeavors that enrich your life, wasn't a point of concern for Patanjali. What I did find was a reference to elements that obstruct tranquility, and one of those is restlessness. It seemed a back door into the time problem. If we could still the restlessness and focus single mindedly one one goal or idea, then perhaps time, or the struggle to find more time, would not be as elusive?

Clearly a work in progress.