I feel loose. I feel relaxed. I feel focused. I feel calm. I feel…. really, really warm?
A whole twenty-four hours later, it seems I can still feel the effects of of my most recent “warm” yoga session at Hanover’s own Mighty Yoga. I have done only a handful of 60-minute sessions, but each one has been relaxing, refreshing, and completely worth it.
It begins with the set-up. Each member of the class gets a mat, a block, a strap, and a cozy, if not overly spacious, forty square feet. Throughout the session, I found myself contorting into all sorts of positions. Some were familiar: Downward-Facing Dog, Child’s Pose, and Warrior-II I already knew quite well from my own stretching routine. Many, however, weren’t so familiar, and soon I found myself in positions almost as complex as their Indian names.
I’ll leave the rest of the session for you to find out on your own. Here’s a teaser: expect dim lights, warm ambiance, and some high-quality James Blunt.
Upon leaving the facility, one often finds that one’s legs feel like a healthy mix of rubber and pine. It’s hard to describe, but yesterday, I felt like I was walking with a gymnast’s legs. Flexible, strong, bouncy, and deliciously loose.
After indulging my soul for so long, I usually feel it is appropriate to indulge my appetite as well. The Big Green from Lou’s (with pancakes, Vermont maple syrup, scrambled eggs, and sausage, if you must know) never tastes better than after a high-quality yoga session.
Many of the true benefits of Mighty Yoga do not materialize until long after the session is over. When I arrive back on campus, I feel far removed from the hectic life most Dartmouth students lead. Maybe it’s just the normal Sunday mellow, but, for some reason, yoga helps me slow down, look around, and appreciate the moment.
Especially at the end of a long, cold Winter Term, I think it’s easy to let our lives become one big routine. Sleep, eat, study, class, eat, work out, hang out, eat, repeat. Without unexpected breaks, we become like robots, devoting all our time to completing tasks, achieving goals, and studying for midterms.
Don’t think I am undercutting the importance of working hard. Au contraire, I would actually argue that many Dartmouth students would benefit from a little more time in the library (myself included). I am merely warning against the fate that awaits the student who lives a yoga-free lifestyle, a lifestyle that prioritizes outward growth, rather than inward. For those who already find themselves in such a predicament, I will repeat the one thing all yoga teachers seem to encourage: just take a deep breath.
Oh, and do a little Downward-Facing Dog, too.