I attended a Hatha yoga class today, the first time in a very, very long while.
I have a strange relationship with this particular style of yoga. Technically speaking, it was the very first style I encountered, way back when I was still living in Singapore. The teacher leading the class at that time was Indian, with long wavy hair and drooping eyelids. I knew I was in trouble when the first 15 minutes of the class elapsed with “nothing else” happening besides us sitting up straight on the floor taking alternate breaths between our nostrils. My perceived lack of stimulation and effort from the class kept me away from yoga for a good long while, until an encounter with more dynamic styles (and then finally Ashtanga) got me hooked for good.
My views towards Hatha have altered tremendously since then. Ashtanga has allowed me to discover the point of stillness in the midst of movement, but surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly) that same discovery has led me to appreciate the state of tension (tautness? alertness?) in the midst of stillness. There’s a lot that goes on in a Hatha class even if “nothing” seems to be overtly happening, but it takes a lot of attention to get present to that.
So today was an interesting return to a point of origin. (In previous blog posts, I’ve mentioned how human beings essentially journey through life through the motions of spirals; we come back again and again to where we’ve been to before, but without ever quite returning to the exact same place.) To my pleasant surprise, I found myself enjoying the class tremendously, my body reveling in the sensation of slightly unfamiliar movements and radically different routines.
It was, for lack of a better phrase, a homecoming of sorts.