I had a different morning class yesterday. Instead of the usual Ashtanga MySore, I went to this Energy Flow with a teacher named Apple. Yes, that’s her name. Chinese get the luxury of choosing their English name. It’s also not uncommon that they change once in a while. My banker Eric just suddenly became Justin. Anyway, that’s not the topic. It was in a different studio, so great to walk in the morning through the French Concession in Shanghai.
I love this feeling of waking up with the early people in a city that’s still asleep. This studio is located in the heart of the French Concession in Shanghai. Although more beautiful in the summer with big majestic cedar trees with big green leaves, it’s still nice in the winter. The studio was calm, just the cleaners and the receptionist. There were only a few students for this class, I think we were 4-5 people. The teacher sat it the middle meditating. Such a calm expression in her face and in the surroundings around her.
A really cool girl with half her head shaved and with rings on her toes. That might not be so extreme, but in China it is. The sub/modern culture is still very small/in-existant here. As always, it was the Chinese and me as the only foreigner. She kindly asked if I needed instructions in English, shyly I nodded my head yes. We started with Kapalabhati breathing, which is a kind of breathing exercise to warm you up and stimulate the digestion system. It’s a bit weird at first, but I’ve been doing it a couple of times and start to get the right breath going.
What I liked, was that she didn’t lead it so quickly. When it’s too quick, it just becomes like hyperventilation which is not so nice. The class was nice, more Hatha, strength and core, moving slowly and holding poses. I realise I really am a moving kind of person and it’s what I prefer the most. Moving to be able to be still. Maybe it’s all those years dancing tango.
What was nice was since it was such a small class, the teacher could really see us all. She gave good comments and praised us when we did something good. I realise how different each yoga teacher’s class is, even if they are all “Flow”. As a teacher, you can really put your own stamp and originality on your practice.
At the end of the class, she said I had a very nice energy, so concentrated. So nice to receive such a compliment in the morning. Not for something I did or what I can, just what a nice energy I have. I got some advice for not standing too wide-legged in Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana – I’m trying to learn those Sanskrit names). This is to not let all that energy out but to keep it on the inside. Yoga really builds you up from the inside out.
In a world where everything is so outward focused, it’s nice to connect with the inside too and let that shine too. Daily we are exposed to so much information, advertising, messages. Most people have a second “skin” they use in all kinds of situation, at work. Status, work, what kind of clothes you wear, how outspoken you are, how social you are. So much focus on the outside.
I do think more people would benefit to look into themselves a bit more. Find out who we are and make peace. Then we can be more calm and happy people on the outside too. Anway, that nice compliment got me going all day. What if someone told you that in your workplace? “I really like your energy”.