Just back from NYC with my fam, where we had a whirlwind of a weekend that included much shopping in SoHo, a Jivamukti yoga fix, the Lion King on Broadway, the FAO Schwartz barbie section with my 5-year old (where yogic breathing was required), the Natural History Museum, and more. We jumped right back into our old city ways, and I was secretly pleased to see that I haven’t lost my street smarts after living in Montana. I can still navigate the subway effortlessly (I had visions of us not being able to handle the transition from spacious Big Sky to going underground with throngs of humanity), and after all this time, I still walk faster than most New Yorkers (but was also reminded that I have the advantage of living at altitude to thank for that now). I recognize the irony of feeling refreshed after a weekend in NYC, particularly since the retreats I offer in Montana are about getting away from that kind of energy…but it just goes to show that a change does do you good.
On our first day, I was so enthralled by class at Jivamukti that I was bubbling over with positive energy and smiling as we moved through challenging asanas. Handstand, forearm balance, and headstand, all together? No problem. (Again, thank you extra red blood cells.) I also noticed the city vibe and absorbed that energy – the traffic noises from outside, the intensity of the people around me in class – and marveled at how no matter what, no matter where, strangers can come together on the mat for a unifying experience.
With classes offered almost every hour and an army of instructors at Jivamukti NYC, I was surprised to arrive for class the next day to discover the same person I took from the day before was teaching. What are the chances? I adored her class and the yummy adjustments she gave me, but will admit to feeling a bit antsy when she began with the same story, practically word for word. And the class sequence was the same as well. Why did this bother me, I wondered? I think it’s because I love novelty so (in my NYC days I worked in cosmetics product development, which thrives on novelty), and because as a yoga teacher I feel like I’m copping out if I repeat the same thing twice. But that’s my own personal issue; I did, however, teach Ashtanga, which is the same sequence, or at least a variation on the same theme. As I moved through the sequence for the second day in a row, I noticed that my body was responding to the repetition. It was finding more space to open up. The poses were sweeter, less of a shock; like my body was saying “oh yeah, I remember this, it’s not so bad”. Being the novelty addict that I am, I’m not likely to repeat the same practice too often. But I was pleased that I was able to feel the meaning of the alchemical precept Through repetition, the magic will be forced to rise; fittingly, one of my favorite quotes in the Jivamukti book The Art of Yoga. More irony to ponder: repetition was another change that did me good. Namaste.