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Yoga class

Inspired by last evening's dinner banter about a yoga holiday in Mount Sinai, I cycled to my health club in time for a short workout followed by 1 hour and 15 minutes of yoga class.

The teacher was a slender and tanned woman in her mid-twenties. Aside from a few slim, nubile nymphs, the students were mainly ungainly late 30's or mid 40's men and women.

The man right in front of me was sweating like a pig. His shorts kept falling down as he tried to gain a sense of balance. The lady next to me kept looking at me. I stared straight ahead, at the teacher.

The movements were familiar, for I had been to different yoga classes over the years. My late maternal grandfather practised yoga well into his early seventies. My single career girl friends raved about yoga. But I never quite understood what the big deal was until today.

It's all about balance and focus. My life has not been in balance. And I have not been very focused. In my pursuit of flexibility, I've allowed myself to be led astray, clouded by uncertainty, and distracted by opportunities.

So much of yoga is about breathing. You don't inhale and exhale randomly or whenever you want to. Breathing is coordinated with movements. By focusing on the breathing and the movement, you should be able to block out everything else. This is clearly not for the multi-tasker who tries to save time by thinking and doing other things.

It's also about gaining control and flexibility. It's about controlling the mind and becoming physically more flexible. My yoga enthusiast friend suggested meditation as a way to control my mind. She said that if I could control my mind, I would be able to control everything. Indeed yoga exercises are meditative.

Balance. Focus. Control. Flexibility. All the things I want. For now, I just want to be slender and flexible like the yoga teacher.

18 August 2002 Sunday

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