Today’s practice, the first of yoga challenge 2014, was at Triyoga Primrose Hill with Mimi Kuo-Deemer. The class was busy with about 20 people in one of their large studios. Mimi started the class with some funny thoughts about the new year and her personal resolution which definitely lightened up the tone of the class–she wants to chew her food more slowly, at least 30 times a bite!
I haven’t been to Mimi’s class in a few years, but what I do remember is the integration of the Buddhist practice with other Asian influences such as martial arts and qi-gong. The class today was very similar to what I recall from my last experience, with her lovely, peaceful presence juxtaposed with her strong (and good) adjustments. The asana practice was varied with enough options for a diverse group of practitioners to stay engaged, but with a gentle and reflective hand at reminding students to adjust the practice to where they were today. There was some music in the background that kept things flowing but grounded.
I have never been particularly drawn to the martial arts, tai chi or qi-gong, and actually felt rather foolish trying to follow Mimi’s soft, elegant hand movements, but this comes naturally to her and is clearly her mark as a teacher; she beautifully blends the masculine and feminine energies of these eastern forms of movement.
Towards the end of class Mimi left room for practitioners to choose the last several asanas and ended with a long savasana. Overall it was a balanced class with a few more challenging postures thrown in, and I left feeling relaxed. It left me questioning two things- first, where the divide is between yoga and integrating other practices into the construct of a yoga class, and second, whether the purpose of going to a class is to be pushed by a teacher or to have the licence to take it easy? There is no ‘right’ answer to either question, which is the beauty of the yoga practice. There are no hard boundaried edges to a class called Vinyasa Flow Open, only a variety of teachers with their unique backgrounds, experiences and personalities.
It was the right class for me to go to today, and I will certainly go back in a few months to check on Mimi’s chewing practice.
Depending on my sore front body from surgery, I will aim to be at Celest’s class tomorrow at Indaba Yoga Studio.