Saturday, March 19, 2011

Courtyard Yoga Practice

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A yoga post is long overdue here.

Recently, we've been doing some outside yoga classes in a courtyard across the street from our studio. I'm definitely a fan of outside yoga. It's a bit more challenging in the courtyard because of the uneven red brick ground, but it really makes you more aware of your body and what's it's doing in the space. I still love the inside of our studio. The space is great, and from what I hear, other studios aren't so lucky with their facilities -- both in their physical appearance as well as the amount of square feet. Most of the time, I feel like I have plenty of space in the studio even when it's packed. Having the courtyard is a super bonus to an already amazing studio.

Shoulder stands in the courtyard
Being outside adds so many sensations to the practice that aren't present in the studio. Inside, and depending on who's teaching, there is music. Each instructor has their own music selection. I like all the music that's played, but I'd rather go without it -- especially if I know the words to the music. Since there's no music outside, you just hear what's going on downtown. Usually big trucks, horns, people walking around by the Convention and Visitor's Bureau and other downtown shops, and sirens are the soundtrack for outside practice. When we're inside, I can tell when the end of class is coming by what song we're on. Outside, I have no idea what time it is or when class is coming to an end. I never want it to end.

Front of the courtyard
The breeze is another wonderful thing about outside practice. The courtyard has three brick walls -- one each on the left and the right and one in front of us from the student point of view. Behind the students is a black wrought iron gate. The breeze seems to come in through the gate and swirl around in the open air courtyard. While it does blow our mats around some, I wouldn't trade it for a breezeless practice. Stretching long in an upward salute and feeling the breeze as you look into a clear blue sky with an equally clear mind is one of the greatest sensations at the end of the day. Amy referred to our breath as our "inner breeze". I wish I was that poetic when I spoke.

The plants in the courtyard are very calming to me. The inside of the studio is also very calming with its brick walls and gorgeous hard wood floors, but the plants and flowers outside give an amazing brightness to the practice. Being in fish pose and seeing the flowers growing tall to the sun from a different angle allows me to look at life in new and refreshing ways -- even if just for a few moments.

I'm hoping for many more courtyard practices before it's time to leave Nac.


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