by Sue Eisenfeld
“Small, little movements that don’t seem to be doing anything, but then when it’s over, you feel really great,” is how one student described Alex Levin’s “Meditative Yoga” class before it began. And at the end, another reported: “A ‘workout!’ We touched on all parts of the body.” In between, for the 90 minute-class, we hardly moved, spending nearly an hour on the floor; we bathed in stillness, and yet we soared. I was on a magic carpet in the clouds, awash in sky blue paint, leaving a wake of painted body prints on my imaginary rice paper mat, here and there, as I changed the distribution of my weight.
At the invitation to lift our heads from the mats, chest heavy with an invisible brick, I lifted. Then I set it down. Repeat. On the next round, at the suggestion that we cradle the back of our head with our hands and lift with the muscles of our hands and arms, relaxing the full weight of our head in our palms, I ignored the invitation. I lifted my head the same as I had done before, with the muscles of my neck – it was easy, it wasn’t heavy, I didn’t feel I needed the help. But then I took Alex’s gentle nudge and lifted the dead weight of my heavy head with my interlocked fingers, the strength of my surrounding supports. What a surprise to be lifted with such ease! The gift to myself of relaxing my neck, even for a moment. What a revelation that accepting the help of others who might lighten my burden could allow me the privilege of looking around at the world—of my body and my life—with new eyes.
Meditative Yoga w/Alex Levin meets Thursday mornings @10:30a, Arlington Studio.