When I first went along to a yoga class over 20 years ago, I had no idea how many styles of yoga there were or just how varied the practice of my teachers might be.
Over the years, I have enjoyed a variety of classes. You might be familiar with them. None is better than the other (each to their own) and each provides a unique experience.
Types of yoga (you might be able to add to this list)
-Lolling-on-the-mat-yoga, with sleeping-bag close to hand for that post-stretch snooze zzzzzz
-Noisy-breathing-yoga; nostrils at the ready!
-Warm it up and make it hot, hot, hot-yoga
-Chit-chat-yoga with spiritual insights throughout
-Bend-it-like-Beckham yoga where ‘more is more’ and your heart will beat like a drum (warning, dear reader, this can hurt)
-Let-it-flow-yoga (I like this type – you may know it as Vinyasa yoga)
-Pull-it-in-yoga (is your belly button touching your spine?)
-Combine-it-yoga (e.g. Boga- Bike and Yoga). This category includes tea and yoga. I like that!
So, it came as a surprise when I attend a class that was new to me yesterday evening. The class was reminiscent of the very first one I had attended as an undergraduate student, when I didn’t know my ‘shavasana’ from my ‘sun salutation’. It was a very calm, thoughtful class but surprisingly dynamic in parts (don’t let the softly spoken instructions fool you).
I enjoyed the precision the teacher brought to the practice. Was the foot in the right place? Did the hips align properly? Were we moving on the breath? She also delivered a long, guided relaxation of the type I hadn’t experienced for a long time.
Often, I have found that the types of yoga offered in gyms focus more on the fitness aspects of the practice, with a short relaxation at the end. This class returned me to the place where I had begun all those years ago: one of quiet contemplation, of listening to the body, of working within my limits and of letting go. It was a simple approach in an unassuming school hall. It offered the perfect antidote to the demands of the working day and was the antithesis to the “I’m so busy” mantra we often hear ourselves saying.
It was where I needed to be, in my journey towards minimalism and simplicity. It was simplicity itself.