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Yesterday I attended Solstice in Times Square, a yoga event with free classes, live music, and lectures. I'd done it last year and enjoyed it very much. I don't regret going this year, but found it different, and in some aspects quite strange.

I registered as soon as I got the email notification that it was open, but even then the only time slots still available were 6:30AM and 12:30PM. The 12:30 was a Bikram class, and that's not a style I partake in. The other classes are by teachers of some fame - Alanna has a very popular podcast (which is also quite excellent, I practice to it frequently), and Paula Tursi was the teacher I had last year, and she was *wonderful*, I'd love to go to her studio.

So, there I was in Times Square at 6:15AM. Waiting in line for 45 minutes was a bit uncomfortable, but not horrendous. Unlike last year, when the free mats given to attendees were utter crap (I'd have felt more stable on a waterslide), the first 100 attendees were given Manduka travel mats, and Manduka is the same maker my 80 inch, 15mm thick home practice mat comes from. I hadn't known they'd be giving away good mats, so I'd brought my own studio mat, but still, free presents!

The teachers was...interesting. A very high-camp presentation, which made for a lot of laughter. His metaphor for the class was that on the longest day the sun has reached a place of stillness, and our effort should be guided by that stillness. He's of the ISHTA school, which isn't one I'd experienced before. I'd still say my favorite style is Anusara, followed by generic vinyasa.

I did feel like he was perhaps a little too enamoured of the performative aspect of doing a class in Times Square. It's theoretically an all-levels class, but I've observed that attendees tend to push themselves harder, attempting things they might not in a studio or private environment, perhaps because of all the cameras and passersby. Arm balances like Crane or Koundiyanasana I don't really strike me as appropriate, especially considering the surface below is *cement*. I can do Crane, but opted not to, not wanting to risk breaking my nose. The teacher opened up into beautiful full versions of each, and with only two adjusters walking about, attendees seemed to struggle to try and get to where he was, but mostly fall short.

That wasn't the oddest thing. The oddest thing was people getting up out of the cycle of poses and taking photos. In the middle of a yoga class! Such a thing would be unthinkable in a studio environment, and I was really taken by the whole idea of being so wrapped up in documenting an experience that you don't actually *have* the experience.

On the whole I believe I'll keep coming to this (the coupons for free classes certainly make it worthwhile!), it was just fascinating to see some of the more problematic aspects.

In other news, this is a busy week. Friday is DoV Enchanted Menagerie Masquerade, for which I'm still putting together what I can for a costume. (It lacks fabulousness. I am sad about that.) I also have to finish Shien's birthday gift, and mail out my niece's birthday gifts. The end of June is a bit of a mess.
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November 2010

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