I finally made it back to the studio this week. After almost three months of hauling around the intention, but lacking the motivation, I finally decided to just go to the Thursday evening power yoga class. And it was damn good. The class was led by an instructor I have not experienced before, and she gave us a really nice practice. The room was not overly hot, and she was generous with her time, going over the scheduled hour by 10 minutes or so. The class was comfortably populated by about 15 hard working, talented yogis, almost half of which were men, which I always consider to be a good sign. I'm not a misogynist, I promise you. My logic here is that it's easy to get a bunch of women to do yoga these days. It's a little harder to rope the men in, or so it seems. An instructor with a gender balanced student body can indicate a grounded, versatile, and well balanced teaching style, in my humble yogic opinion.
At least it was true in this case. The class started out nice and slow, with ample opportunity to warm up the spine and shoulders. A few slow salutations, then some long holds in warrior I and II before moving into a well rounded and flowing standing sequence. The instructor's cues were strong and clear, and I particularly appreciated her focus on intention, which she reinforced by informing us of what was to come next in the sequence before actually cuing the asanas, which assisted in maintaining a nice, smooth flow throughout the practice and allowed each student to move in their own way. She walked around the room throughout the class, not demonstrating many poses, but watching us carefully and making alignment points. I felt her light hand on my back or saw her feet by my mat several times throughout the hour. She offered several optional progressions to go deeper if desired, and we played with handstand kicks on both sides, which was fun.
I have just one stick in my craw to discuss here, and it does not reflect on the instructor. In my vicinity during the class, somewhere, someone had not showered in days. This person, whoever it was (I was not able to pinpoint the source), was absolutely ripe. Overripe. Beyond ripe, they were downright rotten. It was a struggle at times to maintain the ujjayi breath. Warrior I was especially rank. By the end of the class, the stench was thick in the air. Last night at work, I was still smelling it, scrunching my nose and asking my coworkers anxiously if they detected the awful stench. I don't mean to be prudish, but it seems to me, as a courtesy to the other students, and particularly to the instructor, who may be obligated to get a little intimate with his or her students, that one should bathe before attending a yoga class... or, at the very least, have bathed in the past couple of days. Yes? Granted, it's a culturally relative matter of etiquette, and I realize in many places no one would bat an eye. But here in the West?