Wednesday, January 27

down with sameness

the soundtrack behind the Saturday yoga class I attend at the campus rec center has become distractingly familiar. 50 minutes of yoga, 50 minutes of lovely light music to go with it.

there is always The Beatles' "Blackbird."

and always a slow, haunting version of "White Winter Hymnal," with all its oddly disturbing lyrics.

and an instrumental arrangement of "Landslide," a song I don't care much for anyhow.

and this interesting mashup of of Coldplay and Taylor Swift. I like that one. but...

a part of my brain, every weekend, is listening for all of these pieces, waiting and waiting for something to not be there, or for something different to come through the speakers.

you'd think it'd be the opposite--new music selections intruding as distraction, shuffled playlists contributing to a sense of disorder.


I might be wired differently than most. sameness is not comforting for me. I like to rearrange my furniture, put different photos on the wall. my routines shift with the seasons and with the semesters. all good habits are inherently flexible.

the Saturday morning yoga routine this year has gotten disappointingly familiar, too. the instructor, who shares my first name but is at least ten years younger than I, pretty much always leads with cat-cow and spinal stretches, a nice child's pose, moves into a gentle vinyasa, a few warriors, vinyasa again, triangle, probably pyramid too, then tree poses, one last vinyasa, a plank variation or two or three, then pigeon, savasana, the end. and she'll close every practice with the same string of words, a relatively lengthy rote translation of namaste that sure, does seem profound upon first hearing, but trite after seventeen times or so--
"I honor that place in you in which the entire universe dwells; I honor that place in you which is of love, of integrity, of wisdom and of peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One."

the end of yoga practice is so peaceful. it's a moment you want to carry carefully with you into whatever you're about to do next.

but on Saturday mornings at the rec center here, we get a quick namaste at the end of yoga and a sudden, jarring transition to an apparently standard post-workout self-esteem building ritual: "give yourselves a round of applause for a great practice today."

so not peaceful.

maybe some people like to carry self-esteem building applause with them as they leave the gym. if you are a person of this sort, I would love to hear from you and learn about your world. me, I would rather keep things peaceful.

maybe I should fill out a few comment cards pleading for an end to the disruptiveness. would anyone else really miss that pointless round of applause if it weren't there? I doubt it.  

I might be wired differently than most. or maybe it's that I began yoga with teachers-in-training, and always had a new one leading practice every Friday at the community college where I worked. such variety, there was. one week very active, playful, power-yoga poses, and the next week very meditative chanting and breathing and focusing. I miss that. not ever knowing exactly what kind of experience yoga would be. being exposed to all sorts of yoga was pretty awesome.

but at the rec center here, there is one yoga instructor on Saturday mornings. she teaches one sort of class, a Yoga Foundations class, where nothing very different comes up from week to week.

I should visit other yoga classes, I guess. see if they lead practice differently. at the very least they probably have different playlists in the background.


Janeheiress said...

A jump and clap after yoga? That does sound jarring. It fits with aerobics. As for sameness, I've always been perplexed when people want the same thing out of a book or a movie or a song. Even Adele's voice isn't enough to sustain me through more than 2 songs about heartbreak. Give me variety any day!

amelia chesley said...


on the other hand... today I was thinking about the times sameness does comfort me. usually it's a thread of recognition, or a mutuality that comes out when I bump into a person or a place that connects or matches or feels right some how. this blogpost may need a sequel to explain that not all samenesses are boring.