yoga for real

Varanasi, on the bank of the Ganges. We walked by the yoga class just after sunrise. On the high ledge at the upper right of the picture below, the guru instructed the dozens of white-robed boys in breathing exercises, exhaling ferociously into the microphone as the children attempted to do the same. “That’s not yoga,” said Jenny disdainfully. “That’s just breathing.”

We returned about an hour later. The group was now watching an older man demonstrate advanced techniques. The pictures below don’t do justice to the serpentine way he moved, the precision with which his limbs unfurled and extended, the total control and mastery he had over his body that made me ashamed of my slouch, my chicken legs, my raspy breathing, the way my arms flap, the way my feet point out when I walk, and all the hours I’ve spent whiling my life away when I could have been trying to master my earthly vessel.

Even Jenny agreed: now THAT’S yoga.

5 responses to “yoga for real

  1. Nice post, Dave.

    To the yoga folks out there I’ve offended: it’s true. I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    But in my defense, I’d like to point out these boys did spend an awful lot of time just sitting cross-legged and looking mighty bored.

  2. Wow! I would LOVE to be able to do that someday. Or, you know, just be able to do plank pose without falling to my knees.

  3. In case you noticed the “No SOOG” sign .. that should read “No Shoes” .. ha ha

  4. You do know the entire point of Yoga is to learn to control both your body and your mind. The mind is mainly done through meditation, and breathing. Even when you do any of the aasnas, you focus on ure breathing, not on the way your arms or legs move.

  5. Pingback: Through another’s eyes – “Our Delhi Struggle” « India Unfinished

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