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Thursday, March 23, 2006

yoga and the common cold

Bala Yoga
145 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 939-6424
website: www.balayoga.net

BALA is a Sanskrit word meaning power or strength. Through the practice of yoga we cultivate strength—not just physical strength, but also mental and spiritual strength. We begin to discover the truth of who we are. As we begin to live our lives in alignment with that truth, we become a conduit for positive change in the world.
The word yoga is derived from the root yuj, which means to yoke. The ancient yogis developed the science of yoga as a system to help us realize unity with the Divine. As we learn to yoke our individual self (ego) with the cosmic Self (Divine Consciousness, Quantum Field, Great Spirit), we discover the limitless source of joy and freedom that is at our core. If separation is the cause of suffering, then union is the cause of freedom and joy—yoga is union.
Bala Yoga offers a variety of classes for those seeking the bliss without the dogma.

i'd always wanted to take a yoga class at bala yoga. not only had i heard so many good things about the place, but some of the teachers i've enjoyed taking classes with teach there, too.

because i was supposed to be on jury duty this week, i didn't have any appointments nor errands planned. luckily, the court still didn't need me today, so i took advantage of yet another day of freedom. after dropping off my daughter at school, i stopped by a starbucks to pick up a large iced tea and a bagel, sat down and read the paper, then drove over to bala to register and take ginny biddle's class.

bala is an amazingly tranquil studio on busy la brea. it's bright and airy, and best of all, it has ample FREE parking in the building! it also has a good selection of high-end (in other words, pricey) clothing and accessories in its boutique. there's a large sitting room just outside the one classroom with complimentary tea and cookies. so while i was waiting for the earlier class to let out, i browsed through the merchandise, then sat on one of the large benches and munched while going over the class schedule.

again i lucked out. ginny's level 2-3 class had only 5 students. since i was still nursing my four-day old cold, i placed my mat at the far end of the room. this was my first day off the sudafed and i wanted to make sure that i didn't end up coughing and sneezing on everyone in the class...

the class started out with some om's, followed by some forward bends. it quickly progressed to a set of fast-paced sun salutation variations. i felt a bit off-kilter and wasn't quite sure if it was due to the congestion in my head or because her sequencing was very different from any of the other teachers i had taken classes with recently.

my mind was in such a fog that i don't really remember what we did. all i know is that i gamely kept up with the class even if there were times when i just wanted to sit in child pose and take a break. and thinking back, i probably should have. while in standing revolved and twisted poses, i kept feeling like i was going to fall over (and in one instance, i actually couldn't stay upright). and while trying to get into handstand (with ginny's assistance), my arms buckled once i got my legs vertical.

i was a basket case. could it be that i had pushed my body a bit too far this time? knowing me, i probably did. so while we were lying in savasana, i realized that's what i needed to do when i got home: lie down and get some rest.

i'll definitely pay bala another visit when i feel stronger. and hopefully, that'll be sometime soon.

by the way, i called the court this evening and found out that i have to report for jury duty early tomorrow morning. so much for being able to take time off to rest and recover!