I took a one-hour “sweaty express” yoga class two evenings ago in the city, because Bronnie wanted to get her yoga on and have dinner but not get home too late. I’ve taken this teacher’s stretch classes before, and I’ve liked them. I like him. This class, though, was in fast-forward mode, where you couldn’t actually get into a pose before the teacher was yelling at you to get into the next one, and the next. At one point he must have caught me glaring at him (I hated gym), because he said to me, genuinely apologetic, “I’m sorry—this is just a different kind of thing.” This was the sort of thing I’d like to see Robin Williams and Nathan Lane do on film: Nathan Lane would be screaming like a girl and Robin Williams would be braining him with a strap.Anyway. In contrast, I went out to Colleen’s studio on Saturday morning, where Rodney taught what might have been the best class I’ve ever taken. (There was a pack of teenagers in the class, and that made it particularly fun—teenagers can be such magic.) The subject of Rodney’s class was how there’s a point about twelve fingers above our heads that’s the still point of our bodies, while our pelvises are the part of us that are supposed to rock and bob, spin and sashay. Rodney said that for most of us Americans, our pelvises are locked, and our heads are the thing that’s doing the rocking, bobbing, spinning, and sashaying.
Anyway, teenagers included, we spent the class locating the space between our hips and our legs—making circles with our tailbones in all sorts of poses—looking for lightness there, and also light. It was one of those classes that is so subtle that you feel like you haven’t done a sweaty express class, and yet when you get home you can barely walk.
At the end of class, Rodney told a story about how when he was a kid, he’d put part of his mother’s button collection onto a string, and pull both ends—tight and loose, tight and loose—until the buttons started to spin. He said that’s what we’re like: we’ve got these still points on either end (over our head, and below our tailbones), and in between we’re, as he put it, hurricanes. That’s how it should be, he said—out of control and yet still. Or at least that’s sort of what he said. I was listening with my body.
At some point in class, I looked out the window and saw some fluffy seed pods dancing on the wind against the deep blue spring sky.