A couple of girlfriends invited me to participate in a 4-week absolute beginner yoga class at a local studio. I had done some yoga about 5 years ago at a studio, and of course I’ve done Wii Fit yoga quite a bit, but I figured an absolute beginner class was a good place to restart.
Man! talk about sore muscles, but what a good burn.
I think doing yoga in a group is much better than doing it yourself (at least as a beginner) because it’s hard to see if you are doing the poses right while your forehead is “shining towards the front of the room” (i.e., pointing towards the front of the room). You might also find yourself doing things you never expected — like, say, do a headstand at the first class the teacher explains how to do one. Woo-hoo! I am a failure at Headstand 1 (the tripoint headstand with your hands planted on the ground in front of you), but just let me at Headstand 2 (cradle your head with your laced hands and balance on your forearms) and I can get my feet in the air lickety split!
I also like the fact that you can be breathing heavily because of the effort you are expending trying to keep yourself in the Warrior 2 lunge without wobbling, and the teacher says, “Great breathing!” (As if you were doing it on purpose, like a real yogi).
But my absolute favorite part is the chanting. Three times at the start of practice, and once at the end, we sit with our eyes closed and chant. I love feeling the reverberation in my chest, I love hearing everyone else’s chant, and losing my individual voice in the wave of the group sound. Despite sounding hokey, it really does feel like we create a connection to some Oneness when we do that. (Except for the one person I hear who Ommms a bit higher and louder than the rest of us, not trying to melt into the group chant. That individualist, she pisses me off; good thing my eyes are closed and I can’t see who it is!)