Sometimes I forget that yoga is fun and just feels damn good. I get too caught up in doing all the poses perfectly instead of just, you know, enjoying it. It's a life lesson in general -- sometimes we get caught up in our routines and forget to have fun and feel good whenever possible.
My teacher for Sunday night's class described yoga as sensual, and she's right, though I've never thought about it that way. I mean, we learn about senses in preschool and kindergarten, but somewhere along the way, it's easy to hardly give them a moment's thought.
But yoga is allllll about being in tune with your senses.
Consider how you see, touch, taste, smell and hear during yoga. You see yourself in the mirror, maybe adjusting your alignment, maybe noticing that you're checking your fellow yogi out a little too much! At least one part of your body touches your mat and the ground at all times. You taste a cool sip of water during a quick break, and smell incense or essential oils during child's pose or savasana. (Or maybe you smell some sweat and B.O., that happens too.) You hear the voice of your instructor, the whoosh of your breath, the notes of a music playlist, or complete silence.
That's called being present. At the bare minimum, if you're alive and your senses are intact, then you should cultivate gratitude for that fact alone. I know I take my senses for granted until they're momentarily threatened: when I have a stuffy nose like last week or burn my taste buds on something hot or feel a pain in my foot or get something in my eye.
So back to Sunday night, which featured Al Green and lots of R&B grooviness, and it rocked. There's nothing quite like being in the middle of a packed room singing to Prince during a long prayer twist! For me, music is one of the best parts of yoga, and life. Music can touch your heart and soul, make you laugh and dance, articulate something you're feeling, and cause you to forget all your problems. In yoga, it can help you slow down your breathing, feel grounded, move with intention and grace during Sun B, power through a chaturanga, find your focus during balance series, fully relax into a spinal twist, and more. I love attending classes with great music, and it can really vary: top 40, indie, rock, oldies, instrumental, EDM, or no music at all. Each adds its own unique benefit to the vibe of your yoga practice.