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Yoga, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1282

Essay

Eight months ago, when I found my life falling apart, going on a downward spiral, I decided to take different yoga classes. I hoped that physical activity and just the practice of getting to the yoga-studio on a regular basis would bring the desired discipline in my life and help me get to grips. Out of all the alternatives associated with sporting activities, I chose yoga for its peaceful emotional effect. I wanted to get a new lease of life and achieve a blissful spiritual state. It was not the first time I had tried yoga. In fact, by that moment I had already been quite experienced in many forms of meditation.

Thesis Statement

I knew that while Iyengar yoga is unparalleled in its ability to give our minds and bodies a chance to slow down, Vinyasa yoga forces the practitioners to think and move quickly and makes feelings more acute.

Topic Sentence

The calming music in Iyengar yoga-studio transports me to my own oasis of serenity, while the modern, loud music in Vinyasa yoga-studio brings disturbance to my mind and reminds me about routine life.

Everything in the Iyengar yoga-studio seems to be designed with the aim to soothe the worries and pain. This is where I feel as relaxed and at peace as in no other place. Not only the music – the delicate fragrance of aromatic oils fills the air and the moment I enter I feel the rat race of the city is left behind together with everything that troubled me so much just a moment ago. The studio itself is small, not intended to house dozens of people at the same time, which makes the atmosphere really personal. As I start exercising, I feel that the tension in my neck and shoulders accumulated during the day just melts away. In contrast, the idea of relaxation just will never cross your mind when at Vinyasa yoga classes. Although present here as well, the smell of oil does not help to wind down. It is strong and stimulant. The first sound caught by my ear is the teacher hurrying me up. I make the first asana and feel the coolness of the bamboo floor. A newcomer, I often fail to keep the pace and do not have enough time to master some difficult poses. The tension builds up. I feel nervous and irritated instead of enjoying the integrity of my body and soul.

Topic Sentence

To encourage students to slow down and detach from the world outside, Iyengar system offers yoga classes that enhance the senses and the imagination. In Vinyasa yoga the emphasis is on dynamic, flowing postures with large movements to wake up the body.

The constant repetition of sacred hymns in Iyengar classes appeals to some deep-lying feelings and conjures up the images absolutely divorced from the tiring reality. Even if one does not understand the full meaning of the hymns, one cannot but be overwhelmed with the fascinating sounds singing about the hidden powers and harmony. The mild and low voice of a teacher does not create a dissonance. He moves about noiselessly. The postures we exercise are not those strenuous mind-boggling asanas. They are soft and natural. It seems as if you have known them since your birth and just forgotten for some time. Your muscles work effectively, you know it for sure because after the classes you feel strong and energetic. However, the work is associated with neither pain nor stress produced by the complexity of poses and the speed at which you are required to perform. Overall, it is not the lazy relaxation one can get from watching television or playing a computer game. It is effective relaxation which helps you summon up all your inner forces without special efforts. It just happens. You feel stronger and happier.

Topic Sentence

Vinyaza yoga is absolutely different.

Everything is done as quickly as possible. As you get used to the tempo, you find yourself marveling. You could have never thought that you would be able to keep pace. Still, the euphoria is not here for long. You get tired very quickly. After the classes you feel exhausted. The poses are really intricate. I remember I stretched my leg quite painfully at one of the first lessons. Unlike in case of Iyengar yoga, the poses do not seem natural at all. I do not find the teacher really encouraging. His voice is shrill and he chooses to communicate in imperative sentences. Strict and overbearing, he keeps my mind alert. I know that a mistake in Vinyaza yoga has nearly no impact on my life. This is sport, this is hobby. But the teacher does not seem to share this view. He instructs as if all my welfare depended on my performance or as if I were frustrating him. I know that many turn their backs on his classes. But somehow I found I enjoyed the rhythm maintained by the loud music and sharp orders. At some moment, my mind and body were no longer reluctant to act. I discovered that the quick pace has the same power to distract and summon up as the relaxing one.

Topic Sentence

I drew a parallel between the stress of Vinyaza yoga and the stress of our life, and this gave me a new insight into it.

Of course, Vinyaza yoga is far from giving me an opportunity to practice meditation. However, for me it has become the image of life itself with its never ending action and high expectations. Vinyaza is stressful, and life is stressful too. Vinyaza makes me feel anxious, but total serenity is only possible for a real sage who never gets really upset and disappointed. I fear a failure in my Vinyaza yoga classes, and this is again a model of life. I do not even say that this is the cruel side of it. It is pointless to judge it. It is just life. As we struggle through numerous stresses, we become stronger. The same here – we get angry with the teacher and ourselves, we stop and resume believing, but unless we stop acting we cannot but succeed. We do our best to keep the frantic pace of life. We do not even have the time to stop and regret.

Topic Sentence

It does not mean, however, that Iyengar yoga only helps to forget about reality given its low pace.

It is also all about reality – not perhaps the business one, but surely the spiritual. And this is even more important. The circumstances surely determine our behavior, outlook and mood. But our inner world can determine the circumstances and change our life completely. And the inner world has its own music and own rhythm. Not always one and the same and not always steady, but they do exist. For me, they sound at the pace set by Iyengar classes. Sometimes I forget about them, but Iyengar yoga brings me back and makes me forget about having to always be strong and energetic. I feel stronger with Iyengar yoga, but this is another kind of strength. It  helps to have a positive outlook at life and be kind and open rather than to compete.

Conclusion

Topic Sentence

After Iyengar classes, I understand that what I need is a spiritual renaissance – a return to the elegant and sacred in my everyday life. After Vinnyasa classes, I am inspired by energy that helps me to be an active participant in life which is so full of disturbance, fears, and disappointments.

I was contemplating giving up one of the courses, but on second thoughts I understood I would miss it. Iyengar and Vinnyasa, slow pace and frantic tempo, appear perfectly complementary forming together an integrity that prepares me to face the life as a whole.

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