Yoga Practice

Do you PRE-yoga?

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I was at a class the other day, arriving about 15 minutes early. And there was a girl who must’ve arrived 10 or so minutes even earlier, working on all the hard stuff, like pincha mayurasana and handstand and splits and kapotasana (crazy back bend). She was kind of putting on a show for the rest of us who awkwardly sat around watching her as other people trickled in to set up their mats.

By the time the teacher began the class, this girl had herself a pretty hard almost half an hour practice. It made me wonder, what’s the point of doing all this yoga before you do more yoga?

Yoga isn’t exactly like a marathon where runners jog a few miles to warm up their muscles before the race begins. Sure, some yogis look at a 90 minute vinyasa or ashtanga practice like it’s a marathon, but each posture is designed to build up for the next. There really isn’t a need to pre-yoga.

When I attended Nancy Gilgoff’s “How I was taught” workshop, she talked about all the extra fidgets and stretching people do in preparation for the practice that are all unnecessary. When you come to the mat, all you need to do is the postures themselves. That’s it. The order in which they’re designed serves the purpose of a complete asana practice. Everything else is extraneous.

I’m not much of an exhibitionist when it comes to my yoga. This is a big reason why I don’t have many photos of myself doing asanas. The postures are for me, for my health, for my well-being. I don’t really have a desire to show them off (or worry about being judged for my form). But I guess I’m just not that comfortable in my own yoga skin as some others are.

Does anyone have any insight into all the pre-yoga? And if you’re one of the ones who pre-yogas, what satisfaction do you get out of it?

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2 Comments

  1. Anne says

    I’ll try to get to class 5 minutes early, but that’s so I can stop and catch my breath and focus before class starts (since there’s a pretty good chance I’ve been running late all day)

    • Terri says

      that sounds about right. i like to arrive a little early to classes to get a good spot if i know it’s a really popular time or class. otherwise, i tend to twiddle my thumbs and notice how chipped my toe nail polish is.

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