This past Tuesday, instead of practicing in the class I take at school I decided instead to watch the practice instead. I decided to watch the practice both with my eyes and through my camera lens, and I must say, I’m still in awe at how amazing a practice is in person.
Seldom times we think about the other people in the room when we practice, but that’s the whole point of yoga: we work on ourselves for that amount of time. Nothing else (and no one else, really) matters. So I was struck when I was watching this practice at how beautifully everyone moved, together but ever-so-slightly separate with each person’s individual pace. As I took in the whole room, I noticed some things: the variety of dress, from dance clothes to athletic shorts to leggings and spaghetti straps. I noticed the variety of skill level: from guys with too much muscle to bind their arms to dancers that can twist and bend like it’s nothing, and everything in-between. But what I found most beautiful while watching was the variety of people that came together to practice. Like all universities, some groups don’t mix. The jocks don’t particularly mix with the dancers, the dancers don’t mix with the psychology majors, the business majors don’t mix with the photographers, and so on. All of that is forgotten, though, when each person steps into the room with their mat.
The best thing about yoga, in my opinion, is the fact that it does not discriminate. Anyone can practice. Young, old, flexible, barely able to touch your toes, seasoned yogis or amateurs, yoga has something for everyone. In the threshold of the doorway, we leave everything behind. No one is better than anyone else in the room. I had known this before, of course, but I had not fully understood it until I watched a group of individuals, who are all so different, both move and breathe together.
Now that, my friends, is truly beautiful.