I make a lot of jokes. Mostly awful, unprofessional, inappropriate jokes and usually in serious situations with people I barely know. Bad jokes are to Jami as beouf bourgiounon is to Julia Child. It’s science!
One joke I often make about The Chicago Time Exchange is that there is never a shortage of yoga instructors and lessons. We’re like a guy standing in an alley in a black trench coat dealing out yoga on the black market.
Like all classically excellent jokes, this one has a lot of truth. One of the many benefits I’ve reaped as a coordinator of The Chicago Time Exchange is that I will probably never have to pay money for a yoga class as long as I live. If I do it right, my grandchildren will not have to pay for yoga classes. If i’m really on top of it, no one’s grandchildren will have to pay for yoga because people will recognize it as a necessary public health practice instead of a luxury.
Like many abundant resources in our society, I have been trained to believe I have little need for it anymore. I have my own yoga practice at home and am 150% over most Western yoga courses that focus more on getting a good workout than the meditative aspects of yoga. Also, as a scholar of Sanskrit (read: hack), the use of not understood Sanskrit slokas and mantras before and after class perplex me at best and irritate me at worst.
But, the purpose of abundance-based economies reminds us that even though something is abundant, doesn’t mean it is no longer valuable.
Julie and I have been emailing back and forth as she had been providing support for my meditation practice. So when she posted an offer for a Gentle Yoga class I jumped at the chance to have a non-aerobic yoga class to enrich my meditative practice with someone I trust and to meet a person I had only met online.
While I am prone to hyperbole (see bad jokes above), this was the most excellent yoga class I’d ever taken. Julia is a master instructor, adapting her class to the students’ needs, keeping her finger on the pulse of her students needs. This class was exactly everything I needed at that moment (disclosure: Needs may vary. Sometimes you just need a hot dog. This class will not fulfill that need.).
Imagine that there’s a time in your day where you can just relax in a way that feels best for your body. I’m sure most people will understand that sentence and know what it means to relax, but really how often do we take time to move and rest and relax in a way that FEELS best for our body? Probably only while yawning when you do those weird involuntary movements and make crazy faces. Or before we sleep MAYBE (unless you’re like me and you fall asleep nightly atop empty malt liquor bottles and half-burnt cigarettes).
It’s really a foreign concept. We do things because we are being told to do them, because we should do them, because people are watching. Doing something because it feels good to our actual body is seen as such an indulgent luxury in our society. We do plenty that we’re told is supposed to feel good such as strenuous exercise for long periods of time, eating kale, etc. (and sometimes it does feel good). We do plenty of what we think feels good drinking and staying out late (and that’s a high-stakes hit or miss).
Julia’s class was like a bit, fat body yawn. Her guiding principal was to do what feels best. And honestly, I’m out of practice. Yoga classes are so often associated with aerobic exercise which is so often associated with self-flagellation. It’s hard to think of it as anything else.
Julia’s class was a revolutionary reminder to take time to trust my body’s intuition about what it needs to be healthy and to feel good.