This month, I’m trying 30 days of yoga for $30 at Mighty Yoga in Ithaca. This is a promotional offer for new students. The studio is tucked into the busy downtown row of restaurants and shops on State Street, right across from the State Theater in Ithaca. After about a week in, I’m realizing that the experience of the class depends hugely on the instructor teaching. So far, I haven’t had the same instructor twice. I jumped right in to my trial run by starting with an hour and a half class which was difficult (but rewarding), and felt like the best workout I’d had in awhile. At another class with a different instructor, we worked primarily on legs. This class made me consider balance and the weight we put on our feet on a daily basis. Music played in a class I went to earlier this week, and the instructor walked around the room providing instruction and helping students adjust or improve their poses. Yesterday morning’s was very relaxing and brought a sense of ease to the practice of yoga.
I like to arrive fifteen minutes before classes start, both to secure a spot in the class and to adjust to the mindset of yoga. Too often in these classes, I do feel like I am thinking about time—how long I’ve been there, how much longer it will last—but at the same time I’ve also experienced the feeling of losing track of time. Yoga is special in that it provides both physical and mental components to the training. Both of these aspects are emphasized and worked on, and the students are made to feel that the practice is a process rather than a goal-oriented product. I’ve found the yoga studio to be a very encouraging and positive space. One of my favorite moments during these classes comes at the end (but not because the class is over!) with the closing invitation to join in “Om.” The chorus of voices, the difference of their ranges and frequencies that reverberate throughout the room and yet the harmony they create, is enjoyable to the ear. Participating, feeling my own sound transmitted alongside the others, reminds me of both the personal and shared nature of the experience.