10 Benefits of Going to Class

Lila Pierce Brown working with a student
I've been thinking lately about the importance of actually GOing to class. As a teacher I'm always wondering what makes people come and what makes people stay away. Mainly, I want to know because I want to do more of what brings folks in the door. Not for any monetary purpose, though that certainly helps, but because I offer practices as a service... the more people who come to class the more people I get to serve. And I definitely still feel that I am learning to serve in many ways so, the more people I get to learn from. It is a give and take.
But, while I may lament small classes or big classes or changes in classes, I've realized that I myself am out of the habit of going to asana class and learning from a real live teacher. Sorely out of the habit. {insert excuses here: no Anusara teacher for 2 hours other than me, and, you know, I've got that kid}. It's a little embarrassing. Not to mention hypocritical to say 'Come to class! Come to class!' and I'm not going with any consistency.
So to spur myself on and move myself back into the public domain with my practice, I came up with a list of 10 benefits I get from Yoga asana class:
  • Community. I get to know other students and the teacher. Hello, who doesn't want more cool yoga friends?
  • Beginner's Mind. Someone else tells me what to do and I can practice turning down my brain while practicing being Open and Receptive.
  • Novelty. Every other teacher will offer information in a different way. Even given the same sequence of poses each teacher will teach it differently. That will spice things up.
  • Feedback. The teacher will give me alignment feedback that I cannot give myself. How many times do I say: Really? I'm THAT off in that pose? Whoa!
  • Discipline. It makes me do the poses that I tend to skip, because I'm not going to skip a pose when I'm in class, I'm going to do what the teacher asks. So going to class helps keep my practice balanced.
  • Supporting the Local Economy (well if I'm in a studio) Most studios are locally owned and pay rent to local companies, they may even be the anchor for a larger shopping center. It feels good to give back
  • Supporting a local teacher. I have a friend who's class I love. I WILL go and I WILL support her, she's just too awesome not to support.
  • Shakti. Seriously. Shakti. John Friend videos move me and get my body open and work me on many levels... but they do not compare with the Shakti that can build in a group of people all doing the same thing at the same time.
  • Encouragement and Inspiration. If I'm practicing next to a strong practitioner I'm inspired to rock a little bit more. Home alone, it's harder for me to turn up the juice. I'm working on doing it at home too, but in class there's a little more power to pull from.
  • Savasana. It's so much easier to skimp on Savasana at home. I'll do it but I'm already thinking about my computer or my shower or my fridge or the clock. In class, none of those worries are able to be there and I can let the teacher hold the time for me. Let go and enjoy
With that in mind I'm committing to going to a class at least once every 2 weeks from now until the end of the year... and then hopefully moving up to once a week. I know two weeks isn't all that often but life's always a balancing act, right? I'll let you know how it goes.
Contemplation: What do YOU get out of going to class?
Elizabeth Fuqua