A juicy yoga class and other educational experiences

by Rob Tiller

As much as I really love yoga, I go back and forth on Yvonne’s once-a-month Juicy Flow class at Blue Lotus. I like doing a class on Saturday mornings, and I like Yvonne, but I have the same issue the first Saturday every month.

Rather than her usual hour-and-a-half of Vinyasa (which is a lot), Juicy Flow is two hours, with a lot of fast movements. It’s eclectic. She puts a lot of thought into the music mix, which can range from goofy 80s pop to the world. In terms of movement, it’s always different, and there’s always something lively and fun. But it’s always exhausting, and tends to make me sore for a couple of days afterwards.

I was particularly hesitant about Juicy Flow this week, because I’ve been having some issues with my shoulders, and the class ordinarily stresses those parts. But I decided to give it a go. As usual, she’d come up with some demanding variations of traditional asanas, and several three-minute-long Kriya sequences of fast, big movements, including shoulder turns, squats, rolling up and down, scissoring legs, and open palm punches. There was also some free-form dancing.

Like every good yoga class, it was a learning experience — finding out some new things about what my body can and cannot do, and what the possibilities are. It was sufficiently demanding that I was not thinking about much of anything other than Yvonne’s directions. The two hours went fast. It was sweaty and exhausting, but also fun, and left me feeling amazingly calm and relaxed.

I was pleased to see news reports this week that Harvard and MIT are starting a free online education initiative called EdX. I might be interested in some courses. In fact, I’ve been auditing Michael Sandel’s Harvard course on justice (i.e. theories of ethics) through iTunes U. I usually watch Sandel or a Ted Talk in the early morning while getting my heart rate up on an exercise machine. It gets my head going.

Opening up the Ivy ivory tower strikes me as a very good thing for society in general, and I hope a lot of people will use it for continuing their education. It’s worrisome that anyone could think of college as the completion of an education. Seriously, has there ever been anyone who is reasonably well-educated after four years of college? College is kindergarten for adulthood. Getting fairly well educated takes a long time, and even then, there’s always more to explore.