Day 24. It happened again. It was just a huge paradigm shift.
This teacher, Tim Thompson, Monkey Yoga Shala, was on the other end of the spectrum from yesterday with Rusty. It was like yoga boot camp. Not to say he wasn’t kind, because he was. And I wouldn’t say one was harder than the other. (Or more full of show offs. Before class, there were a few people showing how many pull ups they could do. Let’s just say that they still had a hard time with certain sequences.)
It was the way he had us work hard. Lots of work. Hard work. The joy of hard work. The joy comes from hard work. Hard work can be play. Start with push ups, then invocation. Ten full wheels, held for five breaths each. You’ll never get there if you don’t work. Pain doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re doing something wrong–opposite of what Forrest yoga teachers seem to say. Inversions. Arm balances. No resting poses besides some downward dog. And that first three minutes of downward dog nearly killed me. I can do it, but holding it for that long? Jesus.
His manner was a little more…martial arts, I guess. He spent some time telling us how long–how short, rather–we were actually holding the poses, and how we could improve our practice by using an egg timer at home. He told us that a mirror would be an excellent guide for ourselves, that if we could see what we looked like, we’d do much differently. Telling us how much we needed to work on our breath in the moment. I’m not saying that there wasn’t a loving tone underneath. He wanted us to get to be the best we could be. And he did walk around the room, saying, “Nice, very nice,” and telling specific people how much their form had improved. He was helpful, loving, humorous, and kind, but he wanted his class to push everyone to their new edges. That was it, he wanted us to find a new edge. But the way he worked us, I was able to get into some positions that I can’t usually. I was more bendy an hour in than most classes get me. Farther toward splits. My back bends were more developed. I could rest my face on my knees in seated forward fold.
You need to go to the class on the regular to know his sequencing, though. Sparrow and I were a bit lost. She wasn’t as keen as I was because she felt lost. I’m used to feeling lost. It’s part of how I feel in most yoga classes, so I don’t care. I laugh. I thought it was hilarious when he tried to get me to do what everyone else was doing, with my hands under my feet, my shoulders shrugged a certain way and my head down. Every time my shoulders were right my head wasn’t, and vice versa. But I did what I could and didn’t take no child’s pose. And my legs are fucking full of shakes right now because of it.
The studio itself is very bare bones. They don’t take credit. You pay the instructor directly in cash or check. There’s no front desk. It’s hot, with space heaters heating the place (I was next to one, and it was set to 87º). But it’s clean and nice. I wouldn’t say it’s beautiful, more funky, but it fits the kind of work we did. It does, however, have a pole for climbing, a bar to hang from (and I presume do other monkey-like business), and some hand-holds from the ceiling in a monkey-bar-like fashion. So I guess if you like to play like that, it’s perfect. Also a giant skylight, so daytime practice must be lovely.
I sweated like I did in the other class. Oh, and only a couple of people had those yoga mat towel things, so I wasn’t alone. I was totally disgusting in the Trader Joe’s afterward getting water, a salad, and a bucket of cookies. I know people were looking at me, so I flaunted my cookies. If they’re all looking at you, give them a show. I don’t think I had an odor yet. Dry Idea seems to really work.
I liked the class so much I forgot my morning disappointment! I got up at 5 am to be at a class near work that starts at 7 am. The teacher wasn’t there and there was no substitute. I did get a free class out of it, and was at work at 7:30 am. And this class wiped the whole slate clean. Satisfying yoga day after all.
OH, and I kept my eyes on my mat, the walls and on the teacher. I only looked around when I was lost and didn’t lech on anyone, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.