I am onto month two of my Korean Yoga adventure. http://www.yogakorea.com I am learning a lot here. The thing is, I did yoga off and on in Florida for 6 years and I guess I never fully understood exactly what the point was. I knew it was for relaxation and for purification and to be healthy and also, everyone was doing it, so I had to do it too, and love it. When I look back, I have been to at least 6 studios and have experienced at least 15 different teachers.
Only now, here, in a country where I can barely communicate with my teacher and I beginning to fully understand what yoga really is (at least I think I am)
This weekend when we went on our pottery outing we were lucky enough that Uun came along and translated so we were finally able to have a full conversation with our teacher. My teacher whose name I can barely remember, I think Chie (we just call her sunsangne) is 38 in korean, so she is probably 36. She began taking yoga at 21. I was told she was very ill, although I am nlot sure with what illness. The yoga made her better. She studied in China I believe with an Indian teacher for 2 years. She studied mostly body alignment and how to use yoga as a healing device. She explained that everything healing comes from breath. We do the exercises and stretches to get rid of any pains and distractions we have. This allows the air to flow through the body and heal. She said her teacher had a broken tow and overnight, through focusing on his breath, he was able to heal it.
Our classes begin at 7:45 in the morning. When we get there, we have to stand on an angled piece of wood with our toes together, bent over for 10 minutes. Then we lay on the floor and do a twisting exercise 30 times. Everything is held for a VERY long time and we do many repetitions. Sometimes we do sun salutations, but they are done differently and very slowly. We hold each pose for about 2 minutes before going onto the next. For every move, the teacher walks around and pushes on our stomach to help us work on our breathing and manuever us further into the poses. It is not uncommon to hear yelps, moaning and painful cries. (there are only max. 8 of us in the room and all of us cry in pain when she moves us) From there the class takes many directions, a lot of stretches I have never seen before, other’s I have. Class lasts until 9:15. There is no shivasana, which I do miss. I do recongise a bit of bikram, hatha, ashtanga, and power yoga in our classes, but mostly it is new. At the end of class, she sits up, says “class done, namaste.”
Our teacher doesn’t talk in a gentle soothing voice, nor does anyone wear fancy workout clothes. The Koreans wear these big baggy pants and tshirts. There is soft music playing in the background, our yoga mats are made of a different material and consistancy. The studio is decorated in homemade pottery and her back room doubles as her studio.
I think this is the best description I can give of class. The extra added bonus is the $45.00 price tag a month which is pretty nice.
I hope to learn a lot in the next 7 months.