Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
Look Down Your Nose
I journeyed north in search of a yoga class. It was rumored to be at 775 N. Vulcan Dr. in Leucadia. My phone would guide me to the Bergamot Spa + Boutique. I knew it was just south of Leucadia Blvd so when I reached Leucadia Blvd I knew I’d missed it. Google Maps or no, when there are no addresses on a street it’s difficult to find.
I turned around and guessed correctly at the appropriate driveway. I poked my head into an office and received some helpful directions to the small compound of buildings that comprise Bergamot. By this point I was late and more than a little frustrated. Who sets up a business and then doesn’t put an address anywhere? This was just crap.
My feeling of dissatisfaction increased when I got to the door and realized the class had already started. There was another tardy student waiting outside the door. I tried to express my theory on businesses without addresses and was shushed.
“They’ve started meditating and we don’t want to disturb that.”
Do you remember seeing cartoons where little mushroom clouds explode in the character’s eyes? I’m sure that was me at this point. However, the other student introduced himself pleasantly and we waited.
As I stood there removing my shoes and changing into a tank top, the peacefulness of the setting started to work on me. The cluster of buildings surrounding a Balinese garden was delightful. The sun was shining and birds were singing along with the sound of chuckling water. My frustrations seemed childish so I gave them up.
The meditation concluded and my silent companion and I entered. All told there were about 10 of us, two men and eight women—that’s above average male participation for a yoga class.
“Okay, get into down-dog and let’s take five deep breaths”. Josh Vincent is not just a yoga instructor, he’s a yogi. In fact, other yoga instructors take his classes. He guided us through about 90 minutes of Ashtanga yoga. Josh is a student of yoga pioneer Richard Freeman.
Josh introduced us to the idea of “looping” our shoulders in several poses in order to keep the heart open throughout. It took some getting used to but everyone quickly realized the benefit.
Another “ah-ha” moment was looking down our noses in “up-dog”. He had us sit in a neutral position. We then put two fingers on the back of our necks just below the skull. Without moving our heads, we were to look up and look down and feel the tendon working, it was an amazing realization.
By rolling our eyes up and down, a tendon in the back of our necks was engaged? Josh emphasized the importance of looking down our nose in any pose that requires the head to be bent back in order to facilitate the function of this tendon. He told us the name of the tendon but I don’t remember it.
The price of the class was whatever we wanted to contribute. There was a small box in the back of the room for donations. When I was growing up in church, we would have called this a "love offering".
When the class was over and we were gathering our belonging in the courtyard, I heard one student say to another, “I don’t want to leave. I just want to sit here the rest of the day and enjoy this.”