BIG YOGA BLOG
Woo-hoo! Big Yoga and the 4th of July
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
by Marcy Kurtz, Big Yoga teacher
At first glance, you may be wondering what the heck these three things have in common, right? Well, if you don’t know that WOO-HOO! is the encouraged expression of choice EVERY time we get into utkatasana, or fierce pose (also know as chair pose by some), during a class, then you just haven’t yet gotten to experience your first class at BIG YOGA! Some smiling happy teacher yells out “UTKATASANA,” and a bunch of yogis yell back “WOO-HOO!”. Of course, not all the yogis are smiling. Some are wearing a serious mask of determination and focus. It may also depend on whether we’re on our first utkatasana or our fifth or our tenth or …well, you get the idea.
One thing is certain though, Big Yoga truly embraces freedom of expression--whether that’s done through our voices when we yell out woo-hoo in utkatasana, or follow a gentle instruction to audibly “sigh out” our breath between challenging poses, or are inspired by example to add our own personal touch to a particular asana or pose. Big Yoga even encourages personal expression by supporting its community of tight-knit yogis in the myriad of civic and charitable endeavors in which they are involved. In fact, Big Yoga makes it a point to also become fully involved in those activities with its yoga family. Paraphrasing the words of a well known yoga guru, Baron Baptiste, Big Yoga is definitely being a “yes” in many ways, but particularly in supporting freedom of expression.
What better month/day to honor that freedom than July, and the 4th of July in particular? We live in a country that can be distinguished from most others simply because of our first amendment right to freedom of expression. A yoga teacher I truly admire (not from Big Yoga) recently told me of an adventure he and his friend set out to accomplish. They wished to attend one class in every single yoga studio in town. So, they sat down and made their list—looking at various studios in the Houston area by searching the internet. The “rules” from the very first studio they examined included the reminder that yogis should minimize loud sighing or making any audible noises with their breath. My teacher friend was laughing as he was recounting that story, as he, too, encourages students to grunt, groan, sigh out their breath or simply do what it takes to make their practice enjoyable. While a rule-based approach to yoga may suit some, my friend was discouraged by this restriction. Simply by acknowledging what you want (and don’t want) from your practice, you are able to create an additional level of freedom for yourself. I told him…COME TO BIG YOGA! At Big Yoga, freedom of expression is highly encouraged!
So, as we celebrate our country and our freedom—especially our freedom of expression-- on the 4th of July and through the month, I am grateful for the freedom of expression right here at home, in my yoga studio where I practice daily and get to scream out woo-hoo (or not :) when I don’t feel like it!), sigh out my day loudly and often, and do whatever I need to do on my mat to work out my day and connect with my soul. I do come to yoga to quiet my mind…but not necessarily to quiet my voice!
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