The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Perfect Union

It was a Saturday morning at 8:30 as I waited anxiously with 80 other people in a narrow hallway. Any minute the door would finally open and the dash would be on. No, it wasn’t Black Friday at Best Buy and no, 100 dollar plasma screen TV’s weren’t what we were all in line for. We were waiting for the Saturday 9 a.m. Yoga II class at Yoga Works and all vying for the best possible spot so we could get some exercise and “relaxation” after a busy week.

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word which means “ union”. Traditionally, yoga is a method joining the individual self with the Divine, Universal Spirit, or Cosmic Consciousness. Physical and mental exercises are designed to help achieve this goal, also called self-transcendence or enlightenment. On the physical level, yoga postures, called asanas, are designed to tone, strengthen, and align the body. On the mental level, yoga uses breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation (dyana) to quiet, clarify, and discipline the mind. Today, especially in Los Angeles, yoga has become a popular and trendy exercise movement that focuses much more on the physical aspect than the mental thus losing the “union” that the word stands for. Yoga Works classes are a prime example of this.

When the door finally opened the mad rush was on. This was my first time at Yoga Works so I was unaware of the unspoken rules and self assigned seats the regulars had developed. All the type A personalities that surrounded me had rolled out their mats territorially setting up physical and mental boundaries. They would resort to glaring if someone got to close or tried to strike up a conversation which happened frequently in the small room that was well over capacity. Just when I thought there couldn’t possibly be any more tension in the room, Bruce Willis walked in and people got even more worked up until suddenly space “magically” appeared for him on the crowded floor.

When our teacher walked in he put on a headset and turned on some loud contemporary music. He bowed traditionally to the class and we bowed back and then began the most painful and sweaty hour of my life.

After my experience at Yoga Works, I don’t think I will be back again. While it was an amazing workout the atmosphere wasn’t what I was looking for when I do yoga. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not by any means trying to become a yogi attempting to reach the highest level of enlightenment possible. I have been to some yoga classes that have not only given me a good workout but have also left me feeling mentally relaxed and rejuvenated. That feeling is the reason I enjoy yoga. I don’t think I could ever accomplish over capacitated, loud, and stressful atmosphere of Yoga Works. I believe that yoga should combine the physical aspect and the mental and although I wasn’t able to find it at Yoga Works, in the vast and growing marketplace in Los Angeles I’m positive I’ll find a place I like where I can find more of a union.



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