Last night I went to a Prana Flow Class with Karendayal. Prana means breath and my style of yoga, vinyasa, is a flow yoga…so I thought they would be similar. Man was I wrong. They were similar in that there was downward dog, and low lunge, and tree … but that’s about it. There was a sense of freedom in the movement that made me uncomfortable the way laughter yoga did. I thought a lot about why that is and I have decided that I excel where there is structure. Bill is always making fun of me because I am such a rule follower – but it is so true! I like vinyasa because there are rules. One breath up, one breath down, align your hips, tuck your tail, find a focal point, go through your sun salutation, repeat. Rules.
Prana Yoga had a lack of rules. I was still supposed to be matching my breath to my movements, but this was more organic somehow. I’ve attached a link to Shiva Rea, Karendayal’s teacher, to give you an idea what I am talking about. But seriously, I looked NOTHING like this. I looked like an inflexible, breath-holding oaf. And that’s being nice.
The class was a little under 2 hours, which gave me a lot of time to notice and reflect on my discomfort. It wasn’t Karendayal or the asanas – both were great and relatively familiar. The swaying? Yeesh. That involved me having a comfort and rhythm with my breath. I have no rhythm and this week I have felt really disconnected from my body. I have been complaining to Bill all week that my rest week from lifting has left me feeling frumpy and kind of ugly. I think that this is due to feeling unproductive but I am not totally sure. Karendayal was essentially asking me to be completely comfortable in my skin and to let my body relax and flow naturally. She may as well have asked me to walk on water.
My discomfort aside, I loved the class. I loved the heat of the room, the calm of the practice, the physical work and the chanting. I felt great when I left despite all the discomfort. I have alluded to it in the past, but discomfort is necessary to grow - you gain nothing from being complacent, stagnant. I am hoping to make it to this class more, to move beyond my own discomfort, to get out of my own way and to be more comfortable in my own skin.
On a related note, Karendayal asked us at the end of practice to find something from the class to take away with us. I found forgiveness for being so hard on myself this week. More importantly, she asked us to leave something behind that we don’t need – I left ugly behind. Who needs that in their life?