Old Movie Yoga Practice

Last night my husband and I celebrated our three year wedding anniversary.  We planned a picnic last minute, picked up some pot stickers and wine from Whole Foods, packed up our 11-month cutie, and trekked to a little stone table in the foothills of Albuquerque.  Perfection.  Then came the rain.  As a desert dweller I am not allowed to complain about rain (we need every millimeter we can get!), but needless to say we were forced to pack up and head home.

With a blanket spread on the living room floor and our son happily entertained in his exersaucer with a wide selection of crackers, we continued our picnic in the background of one of my all-time favorite movies, His Girl Friday.  A 1940 flick with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, the movie, despite its fast-paced banter, is noticeably "slow-moving" (my husband's words not mine), spending several minutes in the same frame and the same scene.

Being an old movie fan I love this about His Girl Friday.  I love that time is spent developing characters and on well-written lines, instead of spending millions on special effects.  The noticeable difference, however, got me thinking.  While I love teaching fast-paced, sweaty yoga classes, there is something to be said for moving slowly and really building a pose, just like Howard Hawks and Charles Lederer did with the movie instead of filling a class with yoga "special effects" that look cool but that sometimes can be a bit superficial.

This morning I practiced an hour of "old movie" yoga — holding poses for 3 to 5 minutes (things like dragon, pyramid, and pigeon).  I was amazed at how hard this was, both mentally and physically.  Apparently my yoga practice in recent months has been more of an action-packed adventure and less of deep, meaningful, clever poses.  About a minute into each pose, my mind began to race, "How can I get out of this?" Despite every ounce of my being telling me "move, move!" I knew deep down that there was somewhere inside of me loving what I was doing.  There was a little part of me, actually it turns out a huge part of me, that was desperately needing to feel settled and grounded.

So while I didn't end my practice today sweaty and ready for a cold shower, I did finish feeling totally and completely refreshed.  My mind has been clear and focused today (a stark difference from the madness of yesterday morning's running to and fro as my husband and I work to close on our first home).  I just feel lighter — like as I held the poses I was digging deeper and deeper, getting rid of tons of old sand and dirt I don't need any more.  To spare you from any further mind wanderings of mine I'll just cut to the chase – I feel Ah-Mazing! 

It turns out, I've learned, that just like a classic movie has so much to offer, so too does a slow, mindful yoga practice.  And I can't wait to keep watching!