When the professor in my Wednesday Yoga Class announced that there was a final exam coming up in December, I thought it was a very intriguing idea to have a final exam in yoga.
But realistically, what would she test? Breathing skills? Flexibility? Strength? Ability to meditate (does she know if I am truly meditating? Even I don’t know if I am truly meditating!)? What could this test consist of? I was thinking any comparison amongst students would actually be against the principles of yoga being noncompetitive and nonjudging. And anyway, we have people of all ages in the class – not true – it is actually a group of 20-somethings and a group of 60-somethings. Hey, I just realized that’s what all the classes at MC are like: 20-somethings and 60-somethings. You almost never meet a student in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. (Maybe I’ll write a blog about this next time).
So anyway, how can the professor compare a lithe young woman with a stiff older man? How about an older woman who’s done yoga all her life with someone who just wants one easy phys. ed. credit? Everyone came into the class with a different physique and level of flexibility and strength. The men in the class can all easily do push-ups, and the women can all do the forward folds. I’ll maybe never be able to do a push up, but I can twist myself into a pretzel. And smile at the same time.
Back to the final exam. The professor said that the final exam would consist of us each presenting a plan for a Home Practice. That was very appealing to me because, in fact, I really need to do this. The plan had to have a specific goal in mind, and I decided to work on strengthening my upper body.
My plan is to perform a set of exercises (about 30 mins, three times/wk) which consists of the following:
- Warm Up: Mountain Pose, Sun Salutation, Cat-Cow and Twists
- Do: Warrior I and II and side angle, Plank and Down Dog, and three-legged variations, Cobra and Bow, Child’s Pose
- Cool Down: Mountain Pose, Shoulder Shrugs, Forward Fold
- Meditate: and some deep breathing to end the session
The idea is to try this for a month or so and see if it can first become a habit and second increase upper body strength. I’ll let you know how it goes. As for the final exam, it is just a matter of presenting the plan. The true test takes place at home.