Gentle Hatha

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I try to make it to a slower class once a week, one that’s not at my usual studio. It’s taught by an instructor who specializes in yoga therapy, and she’s very empathetic, easy to talk to, and compassionate. Her class is mellow and slow-paced, at least compared to my usual vinyasa flow classes.

So you would think going to these gentle hatha sessions would calm me down, zen me out, give me a refuge from the sweaty workout I endure in my other classes.

Ultimately, they do. But first, I get angry.

Yes, gentle yoga pisses me off.

After my first yin class, I swore off slower-paced yoga. It’s so dull, I whined. But that wasn’t really the issue. The issue was that it forced me to be with my thoughts and my emotions. Vinyasa can do that too, but in that case I can use the physical intensity of the asanas to quiet down my mind. With a slower-paced, gentler class, I cannot escape into the flow. Often we hold poses for a longer amount of time–“easy” poses which, as it turns out, aren’t so easy at all.

This is how gentle yoga brings me face-to-face with my ego. When you go into anything assuming it will be easy but end up contending with some struggles instead, your ego suffers.

This is a good thing. It makes you more aware of your preconceptions, your insecurities, your fears. Eventually, if you let it, it can serve to help you let go of things you need not be holding onto.

But it also kicks your ass a little bit. Or a lot. What’s that Gloria Steinem quote? 

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

Yoga brings me to my truth. And sometimes, it really does piss me off.

And I couldn’t be more thankful for that. Though vinyasa is still my favorite type of yoga, gentle hatha has also given me more than I ever expected.

Since today is Tuesday (meaning it’s Gratitude Tuesday, in Jeana world), here are also two more things I am grateful for:

  • Music. Somehow I forget sometimes how much music can help me, but it’s always a wonderful feeling to remember. In particular, it’s been helping me grow my at-home yoga practice a little more.
  • This semester of grad school. Though I’m still not sure there’s a place for me within the journalism world, I have come so much closer to realizing what my true passions are, and I’ve accomplished more than I thought that I could. At the beginning, I didn’t even know if I would be able to make it through one week of classes.

What are you thankful for this week?

I’ve been a bit out of the loop recently due to the end-of-the-semester schoolwork insanity, but I look forward to catching up on some blogs.

Namaste, friends!

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