Yoga Classes are like Star Tours
I’ve been taking yoga classes this month from Yoga Tree Valencia here in San Francisco. It’s not too close to my home nor my work, but I can quickly hop on the BART from either place and get within walking distance. The classes this month have been great. I signed up for a “Yoga Intro” package that features three long three-hour weekend sessions of slow instruction in a group setting, with as many normal classes between sessions as I want to go to. It’s an “all you can eat”. Great for beginners who want to try a bunch of things out!
While I was relaxing before a session on Wednesday night, I suddenly realized that the feeling I had as I waited for the class to start was very similar to how I felt as a child, waiting for Star Tours at Disneyland. The main doors to the yoga room were all closed, and I couldn’t tell what was going on in there. I knew there were a bunch of people inside, going through a shared experience, and I had no idea how it was going for them. I couldn’t hear anything, I couldn’t tell if they were enjoying themselves or getting sick. But I had a great expectation that at any moment the doors would open and they would all pour out, and I had a great anticipation about the experience that I was about to have.
As I waited for the chamber doors to open, I knew roughly how it would go, but each session is always a little different. The guide is different, my mood is different, my body feels different, and thus the experience is always fresh but bounded by the same rough schedule and set of experiences. I knew I would lie on my yoga mat and it would be my “magic carpet”, so to say, the one thing I could count on that would take me through the experience of the class. Of course I also knew I would feel a lot of frustration and release and aggravation and relaxation and the ongoing process of tension and giving up tension that is yoga for me.
I’m not sure what yoga is for others. My experience always tends to be described by the process of realizing where my body is tight and getting frustrated about it; realizing I’m frustrated and how little that helps, so giving that frustration up; recognizing new motions or muscle adjustments that enhance the experience of the pose I’m currently in; and, yeah, sweating a whole lot and pushing myself beyond what I think I can do. Which, when you think about it, really describes the journey of life, in a metaphorical way.
Most of the time I leave yoga class in elation; sometimes I also leave the class in exhaustion. But for me, it is definitely an “E” Ticket.