The Yoga Project

In my last post, I chronicled my (so far) unsuccessful attempt to find a yoga class that’s a good fit for me and my inflexible body. A number of friends have encouraged me to keep looking, and as I did so, the germ of an idea took root in my mind.

Why not do the smorgasbord – tons of yoga, lots of teachers – and write up my impressions and observations of every class? Maybe that will help quantify the Om, render it less elusive – and get me writing in this blog again.

I bet most stuff on yoga is written by people who are actually competent at it. I can write about the agony of downward dog from the perspective of someone with barely functional hamstrings!  I’m very excited. Now the only question is when exactly to sign up so I can get the most bang for my buck. Looks like I’ll start either tomorrow or Saturday, with as many yoga classes as I can stand.

Welcome to The Yoga Project (TYP)! Continue reading

TYP Part 1

IMG_0790As promised, here is the first installment of The Yoga Project (TYP).

DAY 1: September 27, 11:00 am

A checkerboard of dark blue yoga mats lines the floor in the dimly lit room. I park my bag in a cubby and claim a spot near the back. Everyone is collecting props from a shelf – two foam blocks, one foam cushion, a bolster. I follow suit.

I notice, right in front of me along the center of the back wall, a line of sputtering electric fake candles and two crossed mats. Hold the phone – this is the front! I quickly move as far over to the side as I can, against the wall. No way do I want to plop myself right down in front of the instructor. Phew. Close call. Continue reading

TYP part 2

IMG_0790Full of enthusiasm from my first Yoga Project installment Friday, and with rain in the forecast, my plan was to attend another class over the weekend. But when I woke up on Saturday morning, all those down dogs were barking at me. Specifically in the shoulder region. I decided to clean the house and bake cookies instead. Sunday dawned cloudy but dry — twelve miles and two tired feet later, the couch looked really attractive. So it wasn’t until Monday that the Project could continue.

DAY 2: Monday, September 30, 4:00 pm

It’s raining lightly as I come into the studio and put my shoes into the cubby. I’ve rushed over here from across town, and I really have to go. The “washroom,” as they call it in Canada, is at the back (front) of the room, and I realize that this is a calmer area than the thoroughfare near the props where I have set up my stuff. Next time. Continue reading

TYP part 3

IMG_0790This post will actually cover two classes – you’ll see why in a minute.

DAY 3: October 2, 2013 9:00 am

Today I’m going to a different studio, this time in Kitsilano. It’s pouring. This studio is larger and lighter; there’s a wall of windows at the back covered with that film they put on buses for advertising. On the outside it says “Semperviva” in colorful letters with pictures of lovely larger-than-life yoga people doing downward-facing dogs. From the inside I can look out and see my car parked on the street. Continue reading

TYP Part 4

IMG_0790Friday, on my way out of the Sun Center – which, by the way, is a misnomer because a far as I can tell it’s the studio with the fewest windows – I notice an advertisement for some upcoming yoga workshops. This one, in particular, catches my eye:

The Promise of Love, Sex and Intimacy with Mark Whitwell

I’m intrigued. Either there’s been a serious proofreading lapse at Semperviva or this Mark Whitwell person is some kind of amazing super-guru. Continue reading

TYP Part 5

IMG_0790Is this getting boring? I’m a bit worried that this series of posts is edging too far into navel-gazing territory, both literally and metaphorically. Let me know, will you?

Each of the classes I’ve taken this week was taught by a (different) male instructor whose name starts with C. That’s reason enough to group them into a single post, isn’t it?

DAY 6: Monday, October 7, 11:00 am

As I’m entering the Sun Center, I recognize someone from last Friday’s class, thanks to the zebra-print cover on her bike helmet. It occurs to me that there may be people who do this multiple times a week. Oddly enough, I am beginning to see the attraction. Continue reading

TYP Part 6

Thanks for the positive feedback, friends. And so the saga continues!

It has taken me all weekend to digest the class I took last Friday enough to be able to write about it. I even did a repeat of Last Sunday’s class on Sunday (the one with P — ), rather than test out a new teacher, so I would at least be doing something predictable. That said, here goes…

Day 8: Friday, October 11, 9:00

I cycle down to the Kits Beach studio early this morning to be sure I get a decent spot. I’ve decided to try something different today – a class called “Kundalini,” billed on the website as:

“A dynamic, powerful, fast paced and effective form of yoga that produces quick results. Benefits include weight control, relief from stress and insomnia, enhanced creativity, lymphatic cleansing, liver detoxification, balancing the heart and mind, and developing will-power. … Each class includes centering oneself with a mantra, warm up, a specific yoga postures set, deep relaxation and meditation.” Continue reading

TYP part 7

My apologies for the lack of posts over the past couple of weeks. Things got away from me – we had visitors, I volunteered for a writer’s festival, there were translations in my inbox…

A comment by one of our visitors (yes, you, Roger) validated my hunch that my current spate of yoga-writing needs to come to an end, at least for the time being. You can only read so much about yoga, and then you need to go do it for yourself.

Today marks the end of my $25 smorgasbord yoga pass. In one month, I went to all four studios, had eleven different instructors, and tried out three different styles of yoga. I’d call that a fair trial. It was also a resounding success. I have given the good people of Semperviva access to my credit card so I can continue. Continue reading

Yoga Project update

I have been remiss. I launched the Yoga Project, started my quest for enhanced mental and physical flexibility, and then went silent. You’re probably wondering how it all turned out. Have I become a human pretzel? Have I attained enlightenment? Continue reading