Why yoga? Address subtle physical and mental issues so you can handle the unexpected 

Rebecca Hersh, a wonderful yoga teacher at Laughing Lotus SF, had a terrific theme for a class this week.  I love it when classes have a theme that runs through both the asana part of the class and the philosophy part.  It shows a lot of preparation and thought, and few teachers do it well.

Forgive the paraphrasing in what is to follow.  If anyone who was there – including Rebecca – would like to correct anything below, I’d be honored.

Rebecca started Tuesday’s class explaining that when a muscle is a lttle tight, it sends you little messages all the time saying “I’m tight, I’m tight.”  But it’s not so bad so you walk around throughout your day with the muscle complaining “I’m tight, I’m tight” and you not really paying attention to it.  And then one day, something unexpected happens: you are playing with your neice and she wants you to run after her and suddenly this tight muscle siezes up and causes far more tightness or cramping or even a tear.

The same thing can happen with your mind.  There’s something nagging you in the back of your mind all the time and you don’t take the time to look at it and listen to it and address the issue.  And then one day, something unexpected happens: you lose your job, or a family member has cancer, or you get a chance at a great new house.  And if that nagging problem was at all related to your unexpected event then your ability to respond is unecessarily limited.

So her point was that yoga works at addressing this issue both for the body and the mind.  You stretch that hamstring so it doesn’t cramp up when you chase your niece.  But more importantly, yoga citta vritti nirhoda: yoga is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind.  By stopping the fluctuations we can calmly and with ego set aside, deal with what we need to deal with.  And that includes unresolved nagging issues as well as new unexpected events.

Or at least it was something like that 🙂

Made me think auto maintencance (or maybe motocycle maintenance).


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