Monday, May 15, 2006
Making the Connection
This sign is something you can buy for your new Mustang on this web site. But it's also a sign of the times. Making physical contact with another human being is getting rarer and rarer as we wrap ourselves in layers of technology. Touching is out, unless you're talking about your Nintendo.
Which is why it was so refreshing to conduct and participate in the partner pose workshops we held at the studio last weekend. Partner poses use the power of two yoga practitioners to take poses deeper. But the nicest part of it for me was seeing students connect with each other.
In Japan, especially, touching someone else's body is kind of taboo. It can be hard at first to overcome the discomfort of being in close contact with someone. So one of the first exercises we did was back to back meditation, where the partners consciously try to breath together. Sitting with your back to someone's spine, feeling their back muscles and shoulders move with the breath, is a very surprising experience. Try it with someone, and you'll find yourself amazed at the sheer amount of life and vitality there can be in a single inhalation. It really drives the point home that there's another person there, with their own set of joys, fears and dreams.
Following this and a few other "connecting" exercises, we moved into some more complicated partner asana. Many people who do yoga go very deep within themselves during a lesson, but during a partner pose you have to constantly stay focused on the balance between you and your counterpart. It really keeps you in the moment.
After the full session, everyone was so happy! I think the yoga had only a small part to do with this. Mostly, people were joyful to have spent some time being human. We spend everyday surrounded by concrete, glass, and plastic. But if you think about it, we share none of the qualities of those materials, we are all soft, squishy, curvy messes! And yet, our elegance shines through. Thanks to everyone who came!