I had a very interesting yoga class some while ago. The international yoga conference has just taken place and there are many visiting teachers in Shanghai. I didn’t really know what to expect from a two hours “Hanuman Power” class but thought maybe it was something that included splits.
As usual, it was a packed 60-people class. The teacher was some yoga star from LA. I almost choked when he entered the room. He is the exact copy of Tom Cruise! If you don’t believe me just check out the picture. Not only does he look like him, his body is also the same. And yes, I’ve seen enough movies with Tom Cruise to say that.
Now, I could tell he has been teaching for many years and that he is used to big classes. He was very professional, a littlebit funny and there were some things that I liked and some things I liked less.
The start of the class was good with setting intention, breathing etc. It’s just that it felt a littlebit like acting. But maybe that’s just the California style I’m not used to.
It was a very strong and fun class with lots of arm balances and fun inversions. I even surprised myself doing things I’ve never done before. Some poses were too fast though. Even though you are very advanced I don’t think you can get into poses that quick.
I felt a littlebit sorry for him. The Chinese (not all) have a bad habit of taking their mobile phones into the studio. I know, it’s terrible. And because he was kind of a super star they were constantly taking pictures of him, some even filming. He did kind of show off some poses and transitions that were impressive but he knew that not even the most advanced students could do them.
It makes me think of the place of the yoga teacher. Should we put them on a pedestal like that? Treat them like Hollywood celebrities and become their groupies? Or is the teacher’s place to guide students and be put equal so we together can reach that yoga feeling? It makes me wonder.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a great class. He is an excellent teacher and I could see he comes from an Ashtanga background. It was just very different. But it’s good to stay open and try different things.
What I really liked was the finishing chanting meditation. I’ve never experienced something similar before. We were all chanting OM but in no particular order. Just as we felt like. We started together, then we started to gave different breathings and tones. It was very powerful to feel the whole room vibrate like that. 60 energised and worked yogis.
I was wondering how we would know when to stop? After all, we couldn’t hear who the teacher was anymore. I’m sure we sang for at least 10 minutes. But then suddenly, it all took a natural end. Such a powerful experience.