My dad has a pet-peeve, and it’s people who are late. For most of my life, I found his pet-peeve annoying because I could never make it anywhere on time. And although my punctuality has not improved greatly, I am now slowly starting to understand where he is coming from. Pardon the pun! Ha!
Except, in this particular instance, I’m not annoyed by the beginning but, rather, by the end.
I have been taking yoga at a local studio for over a year now. Because of my busy schedule (and, really, whose schedule is NOT busy?) I can only fit in an early morning class; namely, 6:30 am – 7:45 am. As my husband must be at work by 9:00 am and my daughter must be at school at the same time, it is pretty important that I get home by 8:00 am at the latest.
Well, for as long as I’ve taken this class, it has NEVER finished on time. And this is even more annoying considering that the last posture in yoga is often said to be the most important one. Savasana, or Corpse Pose, closes every yoga practice that I have ever heard or read about. It is the pose that helps you “absorb” the practice and allows your mind to calm. It is often said to be the most difficult pose because although it appears you are doing “nothing”, you are really trying to be in the present moment. This is very difficult for most of us to achieve.
Well, time and again, the class is winding down and I look at the clock only to see that it’s already almost 7:45 am. At this point, I quietly roll up my mat and leave. And I’m not the only one. A fair number of other students file out as the teacher puts on the final, “meditative” song. I find this entire situation disrespectful to the students and to the practice itself. The teachers are quite enthusiastic in trying all kinds of acrobatic movements and devoting much time to various asanas, but yet this final pose is treated as an after-thought.
To my dismay, other classes I attended at this studio (even on the weekends and at later times of day) also ended late. This studio is the closest to my home and the only one that offers classes during the time I need. And I actually really like my teachers. I am excited to attend each class. However, I can’t help but feel the elitist overtones that Yoga in the West has taken on. Of course, there are the obvious signs: classes that cost $20 a pop and are filled with middle to upper class white women wearing the latest Lululemon gear (yes, I’m one of them). I feel that this habit, of forcing the students to stay late to complete their practice, is a reflection of this as well. It suggests that there is nowhere else that any of us really need to be, and most importantly, it implies that Savasana is not a necessary part of daily practice. I can almost guarantee that no self-respecting Yogi would agree with this. But then again, s/he probably wouldn’t be practicing to Buddha Bar in a pair of hot shorts either.