Haphazard Yoga

As the organized bohemian, I try to balance my structured side with nonchalance. But my approach to learning yoga has skewed my philosophy.

My organized self says: “take a class” while the bohemian in me says: “read a book and DIY.” Since I had done a form of stretching for years, I wanted it to morph naturally into yoga. I thought if I read a book on the subject, I’d become a ‘yogi’ by the time I finished the first page.

But when I’d open a book, I was bombarded with historical information on the Indian roots of yoga and images of instructors doing poses, plus an explanation of the pose (including the breathing techniques). I was easily confused. I’d try a pose – feeling awkward and feeble (the pictures made it look easy) – I’d quickly move on to the next pose. The books never said that patience was a key ingredient to practicing yoga!

I was discouraged and bored. I needed a class. Seeing myself wearing Lululemon pants (hopefully not the see-through kind) with a green yoga mat slung over my shoulder, I was hip. Yet the thought of a crowded class made me claustrophobic, intimidated and competitive. I knew I would start comparing myself to others in the class. I tended to agree with Sartre, “Hell is Other People.” I’d do better on my own.

Pondering Yoga in Pondicherry, India

In 2006, while in Pondicherry, India, I found a book called “Yoga, A Step-by-Step Guide” by Annie Jones. I scanned through its pages and came to the ‘sun sequence’ (Surya Namaskar). The postures looked doable and the sun was shining – it seemed like a good time to try.

pondicherry

View of Bay of Bengal from Park Guest House

Staying at the Park Guest House, I went out to the grass in front of our room, overlooking the Bay of Bengal, and began an awkward, self-conscious attempt at Surya Namaskar.

Without much finesse, I completed the sequence. Looking around me, I imagined Lord Shiva (originator of yoga) appearing before me, saying: “Leave India, you fake!”

Since Shiva never appeared, I watched the woman beside me.

She seemed to be lost in a trance, standing on one leg with the other leg bent behind her head and held by her hands – she was balanced in a precarious position, but in complete control. Her face looked serene. She understood the secret that yoga held.

I was in awe of her. I wanted to be her.

Seven Years Later

I still haven’t taken a class, but for the last year I have been doing my own personal yoga routine every morning before I start my day. I stopped putting pressure on myself to know everything about yoga. Instead, I now combine it with running stretches to create a sequence that works for me.

And when I get too serious about yoga, I recite my short saying:

The half moon watched over the monkey and cobra sitting by a swaying palm tree, when a warrior, riding on a camel, came along carrying a magical star fish.

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About Organized Bohemian

Dana M. Petric is a writer/landscape gardener/blogger/performer/office temp/web designer. Her wrestle between creative and money-making ventures permeates her writing. Self-publishing her first book, Growing Iris, Dana continues on her path toward writing full-time. Beginning her post-secondary education at UBC (Liberal Arts dropout), she prevailed at George Brown Theatre School (Theatre Arts Diploma) and matured at BCIT (Technical Writing Diploma). She lives in Vancouver, BC with her partner Eric and daughter Cleo.
This entry was posted in Challenges, organized bohemian, philosophy, running, travel, yoga and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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