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Lone Wolf

April 19, 2012

I’m not sure what the whole fetish over the “lone wolf” scenario is. In fact, I’m not even sure how the saying came to be so commonplace. Wolves, as we all know, are pack animals and I would think it is perhaps not that poor little wolf’s choice to roam the earth alone. But what of humans? Traditionally we’re also pack animals, but we’re more intelligent about executing our need for survival and in some ways I think this interferes with the pack instinct. I’m sure there is legit research on all of this…but this is a blog, not a published journal so you’re just going to have to accept my lack of research (and take everything I say for fact.) 

So, do we prefer each other’s company or not? Some people probably  never do, and some people seem like they can’t ever be left alone without having a meltdown. How does this apply to yoga?

Tonight, for the first time in what feels like ages I took a group class at the Prospect Park YMCA. The teacher was good, and the class was mixed, the music wasn’t distracting and the overall experience was pleasant. After I finished my 500 hr training and got my second home practice, I was told to not really mingle with the common folk at yoga studios (obviously my words, not my teacher’s.) The reasoning was most likely that a) most yoga teachers have NO idea what they’re talking about, b) I’m totally capable of leading myself in an asana practice, and c) yoga is about focus and inner quietude. And, yet, there is something so gratifying about a group class.

When I’m flying solo, I may be focused and quiet but so often my practice just feels like drudgery. I can never tell if it is the “energy” of many people in a room or perhaps just a sense of “keeping up with the Joneses” that makes my practice so energetic in a group class. Also, I never skip poses in the interest of time or because my muscles are a little whiny, or because I didn’t sleep well, or… All and all, I get a lot out of a group class because I’m generally not mailing it in.

On the other hand, sometimes I DO feel like I’m showing off in a group class. I have above average flexibility and far deeper knowledge about yoga than many people and I think I get a little cocky. If there is a mirror, I’m usually checking myself out (I don’t think I’m hot enough to be doing yoga in my lacy pants on camera anytime soon, sorry to disappoint. ) When the teacher comes around I’m careful to make sure that I’m in my fullest expression and neatest iteration of whatever pose we’re doing. Sometimes, unsolicited, I play second teacher and give advice. Basically, when I’m in a group class I pretty much regress to what I was like as a 6 year old. That can’t be good.

I’m not sure there is really any answer to these “hard hitting” questions. Sometimes you gotta hang with the pack, and some times you gotta run free and howl at the moon (and, if possible make sure you are sketched by a hipster and silk screened on to a t-shirt.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2012 11:28 am

    Love the Dharmachamelion and San Francisco awaits her arrival

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  1. The Yoga of Inclusion « Dharma*Chameleon

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