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​Is Your Yoga Class a Stanley Milgram Experiment?

Practice
Two dogs doing yoga on the beach

Yin-Yang Yoga by Mike Holzer

Perhaps the hardest pose—and greatest enlightenment—is to sit comfortably.

We recently received an article titled “Impatience Will Do This to You,” in which a yoga student described waiting for a class to begin:  “But instead of inviting us to begin moving our bodies, our teacher has asked us to sit in Virasana with our legs folded under us so that our heels serve as the support for our buttocks. It’s an uncomfortable pose, unlike Easy Pose where we sit cross-legged, spines erect, eyes closed, listening. This morning, though, it’s hard to listen because the new sitting posture strains my knees and ankles. … I want to move, to get out of this pose, which feels as if it’s imprisoning me, and find my way into another pose, a pain-free pose. …” [Editor’s note: This hurts to read. Just get out of the pose.] “The longer the teacher talks, holding us in this pose, the more impatient I become. My mind is no longer looking at the pose as an opportunity to explore a different way of sitting. The discomfort is too intense. I’m already thinking ahead, imagining the end of class when we’ll lie on our backs in Savasana. …” Ouch! Stop telling stories. Listen to …

Stephen Kiesling is editor in chief of S&H. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.


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