Monday, January 18, 2010
It's getting crowded in here! Finding personal space and tranquility in the practice room.
It happens every January--the new year and resolutions inspire us to get serious about our fitness and exercise. As a result of this enthusiasm, 24 Hour Fitness facilities fill up quickly, and the Group X classes are no exception. While 24 Cycle classes are self-limiting (it's impossible to have more students than spin bikes), other classes get crowded. When striving for peace and tranquility in a Mind/Body class such as yoga, it takes some good humor, patience, and a bit of "self-talk" to find those elusive goals.
Getting to a feeling of personal space when mats are close to touching one another can be a challenge. But it doesn't have to be. Consider that yogis and yoginis have been practicing for centuries in small, almost cramped, spaces. Yoga is not about the amount of real estate that surrounds you, just as much as yoga is not about achieving a perfect pose or asana. Yoga is about linking your breath, movement, and interior self together. Yoga is about your internal real estate--the space within your person. When the practice room feels crowded to you, remember that within the borders of your mat, you have all the room that you need to do your practice.
The current estimate for American's personal physical space is two feet on either side, about 27 inches in front, and about 16 inches behind. At that rate, only about 20 students would fit into a Group X yoga or pilates class in Glendora. That's a tiny number of students and would cause much grumbling when a "limit" is reached. Within the confines of safety (determined by the Fire Department), there is no limit to the number of students attending a Mind/Body class such as yoga or pilates. Today's 10:30 a.m. class had about 40 students, and we all got along just fine (plus, heart-felt thanks to all who moved their mats to create room for latecomers).
Whether you have just begun to discover yoga, or are a long-time devotee, welcome! Be assured that your subscription and e-mail address is kept private. The object of this blog is to extend our yoga community beyond the walls of our practice room--to take our practice into the larger world--and to continue our conversation without the constraints of a strictly scheduled time frame. Feel free to comment, to ask questions, or to suggest a topic for discussion.