With the help of my former coworker, Ayla, I’ve been getting back into yoga. Slowly. It’s been a nice transition, as we initially started taking the uber cheap classes held at our building. Now we are trying to practice a little more consistently, taking classes at Hotlanta Yoga in Old Fourth Ward.
The first class we took was a Yoga Basics class with a super high-energy teacher. It was more reminiscent of a flow class, yet with a strong focus on, well, the basics. The teacher was more like a cheerleading coach, as she would shout, “YES” and “BEAUTIFUL” throughout the class. The class ended as most yoga classes do – very calmly with a long break for shavasana (corpse pose). But in general, it was safe to say that the class still kicked our asset mainly due to the pace.
Last night we took another Yoga Basics class but this time with a teacher we hadn’t yet experienced. She was quite different than the first teacher we had. She was slow to speak and when she did speak, she spoke with a calming yet confident voice. We practiced many more chaturangas than our first class and were given the opportunity to practice crow, but still all at a fairly slow pace. Well this time during shavasana, I fell asleep.
When I woke up our teacher was talking about the fourth chakra. (Clearly I missed the first through the third chakras.) At first I was a little embarrassed and confused, wondering what I missed and if anyone noticed. Then I embraced it. Although I did fall asleep, I was still present.
In yoga, or at least from my understanding, we are taught to be fully in-sync with our bodies by constantly listening to them, by being present and in the moment. I wasn’t “present” in the sense that I was taking in every single word spoken by our teacher. Instead, I was “present” in the sense that I allowed my body to act the way it wanted to act.
There’s something to discern from my brief and impromptu sleep session last night. What does “being present” really mean? Are we constructing its definition to fit our own selves and notions?