May 24, 2010

In Praise of Yoga Classes that Suck.

Finding inspiration is an elusive thing.

…A walk, a great book, a conversation with a friend who’s a bona fide genius, the biography of someone filled with passion — all of these provide uplift not just for living but also for our yoga practice.

A new acquaintance lent me a CD of his music. I had it around for a couple of days before playing it, and when I did this morning, it blew me away! What mastery in his playing! What fantastic voice! We’re not talking Joe Blow Plays the Kazoo here, we’re talking world-class acoustic guitar in classical, folk, and world styles that upon hearing, I felt so inspired that it made me want to go out and teach a kick-butt yoga class. (With my apologies to Patanjali and all the masters for perpetuating the popular tendency of putting “yoga” next to “kick butt” or its uncouth twin.)

So yes, obviously, when in the face of Art with in the upper case, we feel in awe, inspired, capable of reaching for new heights — in life and in yoga. I don’t need to tell you that. You also know that when you take a yoga class that’s truly magic, the inspiration lives on in you beyond the class. All of these things are no-brainers.

What I’d like to turn your attention to is the oft-overlooked inspirational possibilities of a yoga class that truly sucks. You know, when you go somewhere else other than your usual studio; or when it seeks you out in the form of a substitute; and either way you have the sneaking suspicion that this person would make a more compelling tax accountant than a yoga instructor.

Instead of rolling up your mat and leaving, embrace this suck-ness with gusto, relishing in the knowledge that as soon as it’s over, it’s over, and man, are you going to be happy to do your regular yoga again!

Isn’t it true? If you’d had your regular yoga class, would you be more or less likely to practice again in a couple of days? Methinks less. But not so with A Yoga Class That Truly Sucks! That one, when you walk out of there, has enough energy to propel you for at least a week of regular yoga practice and some mindful daytime meditation thrown in for good measure.

And it need not stop there.

Next time you have a bad day, you lose your keys, your boss yells at you, or your teenager get arrested for something bone-headed, you can think, “Boy, yoga is going to feel really, really great tonight!” and delight in the fact that at least you’re finding inspiration where before there was just a sucky experience.

My only request is if you decide to venture out of your comfort zone and locate a class that truly sucks… and if I’m the one teaching that class… you don’t come up and tell me, “You’ve inspired me to practice like mad… somewhere else.” Just remember that what to some might seem like a sucky class, to others it appears like the pinnacle of yogic enjoyment.


Read 9 Comments and Reply

Read 9 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Ricardo das Neves  |  Contribution: 12,600