Don’t just do Crane pose. Be the Crane.
This was a quote from my first Jivamukti class I took Saturday morning.
I started doing power yoga over two years ago. I was drawn into it because unlike the other websites for studios, it didn’t mention any deities, mantras, or ways of being. It simply was about flowing, sweating and having a good time.
The other studios scared me away. This was back when ‘peace’ meant no war between countries (whats inner peace??), when ‘I love you’ was only for someone you were romantically involved with (even then, an iffy term), when hugs were for someone wanting more than just a hug and handshakes were the only acceptable form of human contact.
When all of those things were off limits, following 8 limbs of yoga, reading about them or learning Sanskrit names, would certainly run me off from a yoga class that talked about anything besides sweating your ass off.
You couldn’t have paid me to believe in anything spiritual, other worldly, or supernatural. It just didn’t sit with me. I’ve only entered a Church a few times, most of those times were for the Brownie troop when I was in elementary school, and none of my experiences were great. Not even Brownies could get me to like a church.
While I still am not fond of any Church in particular, I am much more open to the idea of spirituality. So why not try some Jivamukti. If anything was going to get me interested in the subject it would be yoga.
Well yoga and horses, the other time that a religious meeting had me interested was at a Cowboy Church when I went to a horse show with my mom.
But back to the yoga, the Jivamukti class I took, spoke about God in different forms, that God was in everything, that He was everything. While speaking of that may have made me uncomfortable in the past, on this particular morning, it was a welcomed part of the yoga class.
As part of the yamas, Ahimsa, meaning do no harm, this was also integrated into class. He, the teacher, spoke about how most poses are named after animals. Down Dog, Fish, Crow, Cat, Cow, etc. He said that while we practice, don’t just do the pose. Think of the animal it represents, take on those characteristics.
In a kids class, that means mooooing and meowing during cat and cow poses, but adult class that means to silently have respect for that animal. Be light on your hands in crow, be strong and steady in eagle, maybe a little more playful in down dog, if you’re adventurous, or alone at your house, perhaps letting out a quick bark, or a wag of the tail.
His point to this was that maybe some day you don’t eat meat. You do cow pose, instead of eating a burger, kind of like how you [hopefully] don’t eat the family dog.
Had I taken this class earlier in my yoga adventures, the whole talking about god and not eating meat for sure would have scared me away. But I’m open to these things now. I want to learn about different types of yoga, and I know that I will be going back to that class more often.