Apr 13

Confessions of a Yoga Gypsy

Posted by Melanie in Community

My yoga practice has been a circuitous, meandering path. I took my first yoga class sometime in 1990. I was a law student in San Francisco and my yoga of choice at the time was ashtanga. Hot, sweaty, cardio-pumping ashtanga yoga. No chanting, no oms, no incense for me. I wanted a structured sequence of poses so I knew what was coming next and at the end of class I felt like I had a workout. Anything the slightest bit “woo-woo” would cause me and my yoga buddy to snicker from the back of the room.

Over the past twenty-plus years I have drifted away and come back to yoga many times. I feel certain that this time, I’m back for good. Like most things in life, my yoga choices today are much different than they were all those years ago. Today, I look for an unstructured freer formed flowing class that engages all of my senses. Today, I like all the bells and whistles, the aroma of incense, an engaging playlist, inspiring thoughts from the instructor and if there is tea after class… all the better. Sometimes the asanas are just something I’m willing to endure in order to experience all the other goodies.

The good news is that I found the studio of my dreams and a teacher who inspired my most recent and fervent commitment to yoga. The bad news is that studio is a six hour drive away in Connecticut.  I will wax poetic on my studio love in another post. The point is, that I figured that with a few trial classes, I’d soon find a new yoga home and move right in.

It hasn’t exactly happened that way.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of wonderful yoga studios in the DC area.  The yoga scene in the nation’s capital has grown impressively since I moved here in 2002. You can really find nearly anything you are looking for in yoga here. But…like a gypsy, I’m unable to call just one studio my home.

I follow instructors from studio to studio, I roam around curious about what cool workshop is being offered where. Is it that I have commitment issues? I don’t think so,  I discovered that I was not going to find an exact replacement for my Connecticut studio. Just like people, studios and communities are unique and special. Instead in my wanderings I seek to find bits and pieces of what I love up north in each of the classes that I take here. I’m recreating some of what I’m searching for in my evolving home practice. My ultimate goal is to someday become a teacher myself and create my own version of what it is I’m looking for.

The happy upshot of all of my roaming is DC Dharma. I wanted a space to share my discoveries and learning and hopefully grow and enhance the metro DC yoga community in the process. But sometimes I question whether the yoga gypsy lifestyle is the best path. Does my inability to choose, one studio, one teacher limit my growth as a yogi?

What about you? What has been your yogic path? Where do you consider yogic bliss and where did you find it?  Please share in the comments.

Photo via Pringle Hill on Flickr


6 Responses to “Confessions of a Yoga Gypsy”

  1. I don’t think being a yogic gypsy limits your growth at all. To the contrary, I think it supports it! Trying different teachers, studios, and traditions shows you more sides of the yogic prism. While my asana practice might be sidelined at times, my “mental yoga” is everyday.

  2. Cecelia–Thanks for your perspective. I know what you mean by your mental yoga–and thank goodness for it, right? I think I’m feeling particularly “gypsy-ish” this week because I’m trying out so much “new” in order to share it here that I was feeling a bit ungrounded. As in all things, it is important to find balance. That too is a meandering path.

  3. I think your route to a yoga class/teacher and style sounds excellent. I do have a studio and teachers that are my home base, but I love to try new classes and studios when I travel. It often reminds me of what I love so much about my home studio but it adds lots of value too. Whenever I pick up something new and interesting, I pass it along to my regular teachers so they can think about it as well. I like the gypsy approach. As you describe it, its all about the yogi community of sharing. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us here. I have been enjoying them and look forward to following your DC area yoga discoveries!!

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