Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How NOT to do Savasana

Took a hot yoga class the other day with a teacher I've not practiced with before. Hot yoga is not my cup of tea, though I must admit I don't loathe it like I used to. I guess running in 95-degree heat and practicing in at least 80, 85-degree heat has finally enabled me to acclimate. But in my heart, I'm a Power Vin girl all the way.

So why was I in hot yoga, then? My sister-in-law wanted to take a hot class (she's a Bikram girl), her first after giving birth two months ago, so who am I not to indulge her? Though I will admit at one point, as we were lying on our mats between Locust/Bow, and I (like the sweat machine that I am) literally dripped sweat in the most inelegant manner, looked over and made eye contact with my rosy-cheeked, slightly perspiring sister-in-law, and promptly, discreetly, flipped her my own little bird of paradise. Not very yogic. But she took it in stride. My altruism doesn't last long, I suppose. But I digress.

Sweat and all, the class is an enjoyable one. The teacher has a nice tone, good cadence, great music. Yes, it is hot as ****...at one point I swear the thermometer was almost 100 degrees...but still, I'm liking it. Until we get to Savasana. We have 15 minutes left and she brings us down to our mats. I'm thinking, great, some good, deep floorwork. I'm as warm as I'll ever get, so let's do it, people! I'm ready for Splits, Pigeon, whatever. She prompts us to lay down on our backs and get comfortable. I'm waiting. No more instruction is coming. So I go into Shoulderstand, Plow, the usual, thinking, why are we already doing this? Then she says something like, "It's 12:00, we have 15 minutes for a good, long rest." What?????

OK. Number one, when we're paying for 90 minutes, we expect 90 minutes in the right proportion. Number two...oh, you're going to love this. So here's what happens next:

I wrap my mind around this "freestyle" Savasana this woman has just intentionally or unintentionally presented. I get comfy. I'm flat out. She turns the fans on and sprays some herbal mist which is lovely. I'm thinking that since it's a small class and there's all this time, we're going to get extra love...a foot rub, neck rub, a chant, hell if I know. Something to justify losing floor time and having too much relaxation time.

Instead, here's what went down: the teacher starts picking up the straps she had plopped by everyone's mat, which she never mandatorily employed in the practice anyway, so why bother? Not that big a deal, except she's not quiet about it, and the straps have metal D-rings on them so they jingle. OK. This is really starting to piss me off. I've been told I have 15 minutes to relax, but teach is going to use it as clean up the studio time? All of a sudden I hear more rustling, walking, movement. I finally give up. I open my eyes and look around, and everyone has rolled up their mats and they are gone! The teacher is putzing around near the sound system and my sister-in-law is looking at me. WTF? We had no closure, no OM, no Namaste, no nothing. Her lack of commitment to seeing the class through to the end, her open-ended Savasana ended up killing an otherwise nice practice. There was absolutely no respect for us as students, with all the moving around. And I was really surprised that she didn't even say thank you or a formal goodbye.

And so the moral of the story is this: Savasana is sacred. If you can't do it right, just don't do it at all. Oh, and this: class should have a definite beginning and end, at minimum. If you aren't into sutras, chanting, and all that, fine. Just sit on your mat, smile, and say thank you for coming. Even that is better than some nebulous, freeform, leave-when-you-want, half-assed Savasana.

OK. I'm done. Don't mean to be so blatantly honest about it, but it was such a shame after a pretty good practice.

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