There is a running joke about Saturday's Vinyasa III class: it starts off cute and quaint enough, a nice OM, some repetitions of Suryanamaskara, standing postures, etc. Everyone is looking neat as a pin,decked out in yoga's most fashionable clothes. Black mats dominate the space, with rugs accordion-folded at the ready. Soon enough, bodies warm up, the air thickens and, suddenly - cue that unmistakable beat - you're in the middle of Thriller: the room tilting with flashes of wild, contorted faces and lurching, slouching, twisted bodies moving in rhythm. Heaving, ragged breath presses in against the ears. E's laughter echoes throughout the cursed 3rd floor.
(This isn't Thriller, but it is zombie yoga. You may have seen it before on Tiny Little Circles):
Well, for those that have been (and those that haven't), consider that we don't mess around on Saturdays. Deep backbends, arm balances galore (ofter combined with inversions), the weekly tradition of partner handstand work, plus a personal guarantee for a posture or two you've never, ever seen before (let alone considered subjecting yourself to). That said, once you cut loose your own expectations, there isn't a more satisfying or fun class in the tri-state area. Abhyasa and vairagya - constant practice and detachment - are just as true in intense, modern asana practice as they are in focused, seated meditation (which is what Patanjali was originally describing with the terms).
This past week we had a visit from our old friend Eka Pada Koundinyasana II (also known as Visvamitrasana B), as well as what one student - rather dramatically - called "all of the other arm balances". (*eyes roll*) Matthew Sweeney's Vinyasa Krama book continues to be an inspiration, though it has been secreted away to a safe location after some displeasure and even threats expressed by the victi-...er, students this week.
As enticing as this entry has surely made this class sound, unfortunately it will not be happening this week, April 4th. K & E will be traveling to exotic Iowa City, to serve as guest instructors at The Freestyle Yoga Academy (FYA) for a class of teachers in training (you may have seen FYA advertised in the Radish). Anywho, we're so sorry to say that the usual Vinyasa III festivities will be cancelled for the week in lieu of spreading the good cheer of the Primary Series and the basics of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga to our yogi friends to the west.
Of course, if you find yourself feeling dejected, bored, and in need of a Vinyasa III-type experience on Saturday afternoon, here are a few potential substitutions. They will produce approximately the same glowing sense of well-being the following day:
1) Get our your favorite extensive and impressive book of yoga postures. Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar or Asanas: 608 Yoga Poses by Dharma Mittra are good choices. Now, do all of the postures. Oh, and don't forget to vinyasa (jumpback) each time...
2) Throw yourself beneath a bus or train (whichever is most convenient).
3) Find a large, angry person looking to channel some rage. Begin provoking.
With these tips, you're sure to find yourself the kind Weekend Warrior that is proud to call the shala your home away from home.