Asteya
May 17, 2008
Aparigraha
July 9, 2008

Brahmacharya

LIM (Less Is More) Yoga embraces the old adage, everything in moderation, which is the definition of fourth yama. And the antithesis of spin class.

Feel the burn, Push it, Ride it out. Good mottos for building up stamina in the saddle and sweating from every pore. Phrases in a gentle yoga class are more like: Notice how it feels, Don’t push too hard, Take a resting breath.

I was waiting for a spin class to begin at the gym when I overheard two women talking about yoga.

“I’m not going anymore,” said one. “I always hurt myself.” The other nodded in agreement. “I can’t do yoga, either. Those twists get my arthritis.” She grimaced while placing a hand on her right hip. “I wish I could, though.”

These two women were about to pump and pedal for the next hour, but yoga hurts too much? I wondered what they were doing in that yoga class.

In spin, I can burn off energy and get into a zone where I’m lost in my thoughts while cycling through fabricated hill climbs.

In yoga, I get beyond my thoughts. It’s about turning inward, and the asanas, or poses, are tools to help make that journey. Noticing how a flow feels keeps me in touch with the sensations in my body, particularly with the asymmetry and disconnects of stroke and Parkinson’s. Not pushing too hard allows for a gentle opening to occur more naturally rather than forcing it. And taking a resting breath is well worth doing regularly on the mat or off.

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