When my yin and yang met on a mat
WHEN I told my bestie I was going to a yoga class, her response was: “On purpose?”
Something as wholesome as this is not what I would usually do on a Friday night, but I’m always open to new experiences (within reason). And so it came to pass, I arrived at myUTOPIA at the appointed time for its Strawberry Full Moon event last week, where guests were invited to “stimulate their fiery energy to purify toxins and open their bodies to restore their yin-yang balance ahead of the new moon.”
The sessions – in heated or non-heated rooms – lasted just more than an hour. Our room (non-heated) was lit with candles, which was wonderfully forgiving for a novice like me, who doesn’t even own proper yoga pants (I see little difference between these and good, old- fashioned leggings from Mr Price, but I’m a rebel like that). The studio is beautiful; it overlooks the V&A Waterfront with the Cape Wheel seen from the large glass windows.
The idea was to create balance between equal parts of male and female energy, so we began with some fairly easy, gentle stretches with instructor Anoushka Emson. For about half an hour, I thought it might even be a form of exercise that I could embrace in my life.
Then this lovely lady quietly left the room and was replaced by Chris Vlok and suddenly things cranked up. The moves came hard and fast, and he rattled off their names – downward dog, three-legged dog, full warrior, aeroplane and so on – as I desperately tried to keep up while watching him bend his incredibly toned and flexible body into seemingly impossible positions.
“Here, the bird of paradise is available to you,” he said at one point. Maybe in a few years, Chris, when I can actually link my hand under my leg and behind my back and not fall over.
By the end of this yang energy part, I was hot, sweaty and exhausted.
Apparently not all yoga is the same though, so perhaps I’ll return for another class with Emson. As different as these two halves were, they represented the yin and yang philosophy: Yin is characterised as slow, soft, yielding and is associated with water, earth, the moon, and femininity. Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, and associated with fire, the sky, the sun and, of course, masculinity.
On the same night, an art exhibition by Ana Kuni and Linnea Frank opened. It showcases femininity and power as the theme, incorporating goddess and warrior artworks.
For details about classes and upcoming events, follow on Facebook, call 021 202 2271, or go to www.myutopia.co.za
Since 2014, International Day of Yoga has been celebrated on June 21 and is acknowledged by the United Nations. To celebrate, there will be two free yoga sessions at the Cape Town International Convention Centre today, at 8.30am until 1.30pm, and again at 2pm until 7pm. The first 250 people to arrive at each session will receive a complimentary Adidas goodie bag, and your Quicket ticket (a formality) will enter you into a draw for a three-night yoga retreat in the Karoo from November 2-5 for two people, complete with yoga gear, all courtesy of Adidas. Take your own yoga mat or beach towel. Limited mats will be available to rent. Participants can make a donation to these charities:Earth Child Project http://earthchildproject. org/ or Mothers2Mothers https://www.m2m.org/
Instructor Anoushka Emson ... lovely stretches enjoyed in her in yin-type yoga.