“For our annual review,” he said, “we have to give a private yoga class to a senior instructor. Okay. Seems doable, right?”
Only when his day came, this senior instructor turned out to be a nationally recognized yoga teacher, a big name, a celebrity.
“So you know,” he said grinning, “He was pretending not to listen and I was correcting him and stuff. It was just weird. Right? But you never know what curve-ball life is going to throw you.”
Who was the teacher? What did Andy do? What was the feedback? I was dying to know. Someone in the class asked.
“Nope, not telling!” said Andy. “He gave me some good feedback that I’ve incorporated into my teaching today so here we go!” Like so many yoga class pre-ambles, Andy’s didn’t quite connect the dots.
Andy opened with a sequence of slow sun salutations to upbeat disco-y club music. It reminded me of Miami–super positive mixed with aerobics.
“C’mon people, let’s move it.” Thump-a-thump-a-thump-a-thump went the music. We cycled through the sun salutation sequence more quickly now, then held awkward pose and twisted. He adjusted me. “Lift your thoracic spine!”
I noticed most of the students seemed to have had some good basic training. The two guys behind me were struggling–sweating and sliding and looking around. But most of the women were adjusting themselves as they needed, not pushing themselves into contortions out of their range.
The women next to be chose to do all the hardest variations of many poses, but even so there wasn’t too much of a show-offy vibe in the room. The practice seemed safe.
Huh, I thought. This is the formula, and it’s kind of brilliant. A one-hour class (low commitment, low impact on your day), hot enough (gets you sweating so you quickly feel like you’re working out), teaches safe alignment (so people don’t get hurt), and just a little bit of dharma talk (how this applies to your daily life) with –oh no!–not the dreaded–
It was true: ab work. Right, I thought, it’s called “core” power yoga. I never liked working my abs, beginning as far back as grade school.
“Lift your elbow up to your knee! Hold! Switch! Hold! Switch! Now scissor kicks one minute! Go!” Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch. Agony. Yet was this part of the appeal to my sweating class mates? You get to do yoga AND do the hard work of the gym, all in one place?
Andy stopped us to demo crow pose, an arm balance.
Then he demo-d one legged crow. Then he demo-d no-legged crow.
“So when life throws you a curveball,” he grinned, “you just gotta go with it, do your best.”
That was fine, but he gave no hints about how no-legged crow might be possible for us without abs of steel.
“Look at me!” he said, giving a second demo. “Use your core!”
I stuck with two-legged crow.
Now thoroughly dripping with sweat we continued on with more standing poses, some backbends, a few twists, a shoulderstand. The music continued pumping. Everything was soaked. My hair dripped like a garden of wet snakes. The thin material of my pants was almost transparent. My face, red.
Final relaxation was brief. I had just begun to relax when Andy started talking again. Another “jai!” with a floor slap and the class was over.
“Okay guys thanks a lot, have a great weekend!” Andy grinned, “And we have an inversions intensive coming up at our Cherry Hill location this weekend, also a level 2 training you guys should all do it, as well as more classes with me coming up! Thanks guys!”
I took myself to a shower in the women’s changing room which was like a mini gym/spa mix. Three shower stalls with large plastic pumps of soap and shampoo, similar to a gym.
The black stones inset into the floor (like a mat in front of each shower) had a spa-like quality to them. And for once I didn’t mind the industrial-grade lotions: I had to be clean; I was meeting people for dinner. This was very convenient.
And like any busy business person, I was already multi-tasking on my way out of the studio. I paid for my class while talking on the phone. I was signing my credit card receipt while negotiating: Could I be there in 10 minutes? In 5? Where was the restaurant? Could you, I asked Andy, call me a cab? How do you get a cab in this town? I hadn’t seen any on the streets. Susan, text me when you know the address. Andy, yes I need one with a credit card machine. Oh, thanks for my card back. Yes, thank you so much for your help. Susan, see you in 10.
No one was left in the studio by this time with its little boutique and posters for trainings, boot camps, more classes, more workshops.
In my purist yoga-loving heart I knew what I was doing—multi-tasking and not being very present– was annoying and a big yoga no-no. But as a business person at that moment, it made sense, it was what I had to do.
And in that moment, Core Power Yoga made total sense. I didn’t have much time, I had a lot of things to juggle, I wasn’t thinking straight, I was barely coordinating the elements of my life right. Core Power delivered all that I needed in a very manageable chunk, and I fit right in.in business and Culture.