Illustration: The Magazine of Yoga
When the Floor Pulses and Air Screams
Bodies and Voices
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST CARYN MIRRIAM-GOLDBERG
As soon as I open the door, the screaming rock’n'roll from musicians who never made it to my heart, coupled with an aerobic class instructor’s high pitched calls to “Push it, ladies” overwhelms me.
Years ago, I joined the quiet sanctuary of this women’s gym when the place was serene with its pale yellow and blue walls and dressing room full of Enya’s singing. While it’s still that place between weight-lifting, step and aerobic classes, it seems that yoga classes are often held simultaneously, although thankfully in different rooms.
I rush up the stairs, past the rows of stair-stepping and rowing machines, treadmills and stationary bikes, most with their own mini televisions, and all within a few feet of six large elevated televisions, continually playing soap operas, news shows and 80′s sitcoms.
No matter, I tell myself, waving to some of the in-motion, out-of-awareness people on these machines. I kick off my shoes and push open the door into the yoga room.
Peace amidst chaos
Here, despite our one large wall of all mirror and the way the noise, lights and motions from the rest of the gym bleeds through, is a bit of a sanctuary.
Here is MariaAna, leading us in relaxation yoga, sometimes up to 30 women, mat to mat, breathing together while Krishna Das sings on a CD. Here is Francie, facilitating us through a combination yoga-Tai chi-pilates class, set to music and ending with 15 minutes in corpse pose. Here is Rita kicking my ass in a challenging blend of vinyasa flow and power yoga after we chant, “Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” together.
While I also take classes at an Iyengar-style yoga center with its wide room and walls through of ropes, and at a small Bhaktivana studio in the country, overlooking ox, peacocks and kittens, I continue to drop in on classes at the women’s gym because of convenience, excellence of teachers and company of pals new and old.
At the gym, however, getting into the mood is a akin to getting into the mood for sex (at least for me) after age 50. It takes a little time, struggling to be free of distractions, the right music and motion, and the sudden realization that although I forget sometimes, my body loves this.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.