Yoga for All

Laurie says:

I’ve been meaning to write about my yoga class for a while. It’s one of the joys of my life. I love the atmosphere, the relaxed precise movement, the balance between chanting, body movement and breathing. I’ve had different physical practices at different times in my life; fencing, floor bar and always some belly dance teaching. Yoga’s been my major practice for the last 10 years.

I take class at the Integral Yoga Institute in San Francisco. I had started because my other classes had gone permanently on tour (or at least the teacher had) and I was looking for something close to home. My expectations were pretty low and I was surprised at how much I liked it. The classes I take are basic Hatha Yoga.

The founder of integral yoga was Swami Satchidananda, and in spite of how much I liked my classes, I needed to hear him speak to be sure. He came to San Francisco to give a talk, a few months after I started. I was in the audience when someone asked him if yoga practice would make you thin. He smiled and said that there are fox people, gazelle people and elephant people, and yoga will not make an elephant person a gazelle. I’ve quoted him more than once.

yoga sculpture

to see more

So not surprisingly, the classes there are size, age and queer friendly, in an atmosphere that’s far removed from the culture’s body obsessions. There are lots of different teachers, although the classes are basically the same, and my observation of them has been mostly very positive. These are size friendly, not fat people’s yoga classes. I’ve seen midsize and fat people there but no one any larger. The emphasis is on where you are today, with no sense of exercisey perfection. Most of the other yoga classes I’ve checked out have not been like this.

They’ve just started transgender yoga classes, which was the impetus for writing about it today.