All Posts from July, 2010

Walking to Bernal Yoga

July 19th, 2010 | By Tania Ketenjian in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

There’s a very special feeling that comes with ending the work day and knowing that a yoga class at Bernal Yoga will have the impact to sort out all the kinks that came in the day. And while the studio and the instructors are certainly integral to that impending sense of comfort and ease, the whole process of walking to class initiates that feeling of relief. First there is the special evening light of Bernal Hill. It’s about 6 p.m. (or 7:30 if you’re going to a later class) and depending on the time of year, the sun is going down and the sky has that brilliant pink, blue, purple and coastal light that comes with living in San Francisco. The walk or drive to Bernal itself is filled with gorgeous views. I happen to drive from the Mission and I always end up traversing the bottom of the hill to see the expansive view of San Francisco and the Bay. And then there’s the quaintness of Cortland Street itself: the wonderful grocery store across the street that students often run to after class for a few goodies for dinner or breakfast the next day, the shop with all the gorgeous flowers adorning the sidewalk in front of it, the independent bookstore down the street with great reads and magazines to browse through, the coffee shop with delicious pastries and artisan coffee, the bakery, the restaurants and the people walking home, beginning their evening. Bernal Yoga, by virtue of its special locale, offers an experience beyond the practice of yoga. It offers a sense that you are part of a larger community, one that stretches outside of its walls and into the street, and people, around it.

Strike a pose

July 7th, 2010 | By Tania Ketenjian in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

A lot of stuff comes up when you hold a pose for a while, especially one you think (ok, I think) is so standard and, well, comfortable like downward facing dog. Last Saturday morning, Carlin had us hold downward facing dog for some time and she mentioned we would be in the position for a while. She suggested we start thinking about what it feels like, what parts of our bodies are we becoming aware of, maybe even for the first time, is something hurting (if there’s pain, go into child’s pose), or is there shaking (don’t worry, she reassured, that’s vriti). As we have been reminded in former classes, Mr. Iyengar said that it’s precisely when you want to get out of the pose that the pose actually begins. And, believe me, there were many moments that I wanted to get out. So why did I stay? Was I trying to prove something to myself, was I trying to prove something to others, to the class, to Carlin, was I actually enjoying it, was I curious? All of these questions may not be the same ones that come up for you, but the questions that do come up, and the answers that follow are one of the central reasons we practice yoga, to better understand ourselves so that we can be free. We take yoga so that we can listen: to our bodies, our minds and our hearts.

Many times in class we hear yoga is not only about what you do on the mat but what you do off it as well and that is so true. Carlin’s class has stayed with me since Saturday. I have thought about the joys and frustrations I felt and why. At one point, she asked some of us to contain our energy and outbursts and I have since thought about the importance of containment. I think the Dalai Lama, whose 75th birthday it is today, sums it up in a beautiful way in this quote: “Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.”