A back injury that sends you to a physical therapist may have a good side effect. It makes you think about the mechanics of your body. It makes you analyze your movements. You learn to stretch, sit, bend, lift and breathe in new ways that erase the years of frenetic jerkiness that is evidence of our busy and thoughtless lives. Finally, and surprisingly, that back injury can lead you to become a better, happier, healthier and more attractive gay person.
My own back injury meant that I had to give up racquetball (a vicious but exhilarating sport) and adhere to a daily set of stretches to keep my back muscles flexible. I've kept to this discipline for two years, and in the process, I have discovered the benefits of meditation and positioning that I have since learned fall within the domain of yoga.
Asaf Rosenheim is a gay man who knows yoga and has thought about it from a gay perspective. He had this to say about a special class he is offering to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Stonewall and to benefit Lambda Legal.
The focus is going to be Soham which means "I am that I am" which is a pretty cool focus for gay pride. I think yoga helps a lot of people come to terms with what and who they are. But sometimes people, and the gay community, get so attached to the "I am-ness" that they become just that. Just gay, just New Yorkers, just into S&M. Yoga teaches us that clinging to one quality, and identifying with it is not so good. it's a source for a lot of pain.
When I told Asaf that I have been devising my own positions while listening to and learning from my body, he said
Krishnamacharya, the father of "modern yoga", didn't teach groups, or sequences. He thought that yoga was a personal practice, and personalized the asana (pose) pranayama (breath) chanting and meditation practice for each one of his many students. Also, Sri Dharma Mittra, a famous yoga teacher said that "There are an infinite number of yoga asanas." So whatever it was you were doing, totally qualifies as yoga, that is if you want it to qualify as yoga.
I am of the belief that most of us are out of touch with our own bodies. The simple addition of daily meditation and stretching or restorative positioning can improve your personality, your relationships, your work, your health and your sexuality. And yes, as far-fetched as this may seem, it will help you lose weight, and in a nation plagued with obesity, that is an important secret that is free and accessible to anyone.
On Friday, June 26th, at 6:30pm, Asaf Rosenheim will teach an all level yoga class. This is by donation in honor of gay pride weekend. Money collected for this yoga class will go to support Lambda Legal's fight for gay marriage. Lambda Legal is the nation's oldest and largest legal organization working for the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV/AIDS. The class will be held at The Shala, 815 Broadway, in New York City. Expect to sweat to the sound of the gayest music played at The Shala, ever.
(As if these photos of Asaf were not enough to make you sweat.)