This post is the result of an idea given to me by my friend and fellow yogini, Sophia Hyder Hock. She’s the jam.
This month I have been experimenting with using an intro song in my classes. This song serves dual purposes for me; it introduces my theme and helps me sneak the occasional pop song into the mix. Here are the selections I made recently along with the theme they represent.
I will be honest, I tried this first with Superman’s theme song (a John Williams classic I must say). No one got it; so, I recalibrated based on my audience and Enrique was a big hit. My heroic themed classes focused on the concept of Virya. Virya is the energy, or the vigor, you put into your practice so that you might achieve the goals of Yoga. We tried a variety of super “flying” poses throughout the practice. My favorite variation was in Shalabasana (Locust pose). I had clients take the pose with the arms extended forward and had them whoosh back and forth. Sound effects were optional but highly encouraged. While this was a fun and lighthearted class, our intention was to be someone else’s hero. I asked that they offer the benefits of their practice to someone in their life who really needed it. We lifted those folks up with our heroic practice.
I most frequently associate fire, or heat, in Yoga as the product of Tapas. Now, this does not mean you ate spicy snacks at a small plates restaurant. I can actually go on a full scale rant about my disdain for small plates, but I digress. Tapas in yogic terms is the fire we create to burn off impurities. You could describe Tapas as the practice of self-discipline or fervor. The heat in the body is created by friction — the friction caused by going against what is easy. In class we started with heat building movement later accompanied by longer holds and deeper stretches. Some of us have a hard time, or run into friction, when trying to connect breath with movement. For some of us, it can be easy to flow and move but incredibly difficult to be still and breathe. We made our way into the pose, Fire Log. This pose requires a good amount of warm up and a good amount of holding to receive the benefits.
Winter Song was saved for my class on the winter solstice. During the winter solstice we are celebrating a return to the light. Longer days are coming! To get us through the darkest day of the year, we practiced stoking our internal fires. (Has anyone noticed that it has been a very vigorous month for me? I am sure that means something. It will come to me later.) We used Sun Salutations and one breath, one movement sequences to create heat in the body. I asked folks to set an intention to burn up the things that are holding them back. I asked them to think of a trait they can work on releasing. For example, being a worrier is one way many of us get in our own way. You can visualize your worries going into the fire you create with your practice. See that fire consuming your worries and sending them up as dust.
Well, that is it for this edition of Simone’s Song Selections. Who knows, maybe next month I will chill out a bit more in my theming? But probably not.