Our yoga community is special! I can honestly say that the people you see when you come to a yoga class at Grace Yoga are unique. I know there are friendly people at other yoga studios, but in most cases, you wont get more than a nod from them. At Grace Yoga, people introduce themselves and welcome new comers. When a person has missed class, other students inquire about the missing friend. There is a strong, supportive feel to our classes where everyone is dong their best, and that is enough. But is that why we go to yoga classes? Yoga is a journey from the self to the Self, it isn’t social time…or is it?
There are many benefits to going to a studio for a yoga class
I am a yoga teacher, so I might have an opinion that is a bit bias, but I think that going to a yoga class is one of the best options for improving health and wellbeing. When you go to a yoga class, you have the benefit of having a well-trained set of eyes watching over you to help keep you safe and on the right track. I am not sure about classes elsewhere, but at Grace Yoga you will get a well-rounded practice with poses to address the many parts and pieces of you, helping you become more balanced and healthy.
Another unsung benefit from going to a class is the ability to learn from the mistakes (and questions) of others. You might hear a direction to correct someone else’s imbalance, you try it out and have one of those ‘yoga ahaas’. One other BIG benefit was mentioned above; you are seen. The other students see you, and they are happy you are there. Your teacher sees you and is happy you are there. When we feel like we are a part of something, we are more likely to keep it going. One of the worse feelings is when you walk into a room and then walk out again and nobody notices. You feel alone when you are not seen, but that is not how we do it at Grace Yoga.
Using A Yoga Video Could Be Good, Right?
With all the staying home that we are doing now, I have had some requests for videos. Out of all your options, I think videos are the worst. If you really want to get stuck in a rut, and potentially hurt yourself, videos are the way to go. With a video (especially if you use the same video over and over) you are not varying the poses enough, and you do not get a balanced, well-rounded practice. You don’t have the benefit of a well-trained set of eyes to help keep you safe.
If you want to practice at home alone without the support of your teacher or your community, you are better off working from a book or a written sequence. In the back of Light on Yoga there are enough sequences to get you through 300 weeks of practice. If you would like help navigating through the sequences in Light on Yoga, I am happy to answer any questions. As I mentioned earlier, yoga is the journey from the self to the Self, and you will never get there just going to classes. You will need to start practicing at home on your own eventually, but using a video isn’t the way to go about it.
If a video isn’t good, what about live, on-line classes?
At the end of February 2020, we closed the studio to in-person classes and moved the whole schedule on line for 3 months as our community worked to slow the spread of Covid 19. Many students attended yoga classes on Zoom and the feedback that I consistently received was, “It is so nice to see everyone, and class on line is better that I expected!” I must say that I agree! I think that getting together in our own homes to practice yoga is a great solution to being stuck at home.
While many of us were participating in other Zoom meetings, the Zoom yoga classes were different. The Zoom yoga class was less like a meeting and more like a balm for sadness and fear. As a teacher, I was able to see everyone and give feedback just like in a regular yoga class. The unexpected result of the Zoom classes is that I saw a dramatic improvement in many students’ yoga poses! I think that live, on-line yoga classes are a great option if you are unable to get to the studio for an in-person class. This is true during a pandemic or even a family vacation or business trip.
This year is teaching many of us lessons in adaptability and resilience. We have had time to sit in quiet and withdrawal away from collective fear and our busy lives. It has been a wonderful opportunity to slow down and reevaluate what is truly important and necessary in our lives. Now, more than every, I recognize how my yoga family is necessary to my happiness. I am grateful for the opportunity to study with my yoga teachers and students on line; even though we are not physically in the same room. I love that many of you have joined our on-line community. During these unstable times, continue to use your yoga practice to stay rooted and keep your heart and eyes open! On-line, in-person and on your own at home, your yoga practice will improve your health.
We are strong, we are healthy, we adapt!