I taught my second “Downward Facing Riverdog” class at the Charleston Riverdogs’ “The Joe” stadium yesterday to a large team of awesome yogis. Last year’s event happened in the middle of a brewing thunderstorm with the last 10 minutes of class turning into a massive slip-n-slide as the heavens opened up on us. This year’s class didn’t start until 10am and it was already a scorcher (roughly 90F with wicked humidity and the sun beating down). We were all dripping sweat before the class even began, but it didn’t seem to affect the amazing attitude of my students.
The class was geared to all-levels, but it’s amazing how even the most simple of postures become challenging when you’re virtually practicing in a sauna/oven. I kept it playful turning common yoga postures into classic baseball references (malasana became ‘catcher’s pose’ where we popped up and down for imaginary foul balls. Uttitha hasta padangustasana rotating standing into warrior iii became designated hitter pose and so on).
(teaching Designated Hitter Pose)
A certain highlight of the class was when one of the students decided he had endured enough sun and sweat and went to score two mimosa’s from our vendors. He sauntered back onto the field mid-class and offered me a beverage which I happily accepted. I proceeded to talk about the importance of self-belief and dropping preconceived notions of our physical abilities. . .all with a cocktail in hand. Moral of the story—you just don’t know what to expect when you blend the two beautiful worlds of yoga and baseball!
I concluded the class with a hip sequence leading up to ashtavakrasana (eight-point pose) and a variation of the posture that I call ‘baby hopper’ that was used to advertise the event:
(photo: Andrew Cebulka)
People slipped, fell, succeeded, laughed and fist pumped. We wrapped up our victorious efforts with a sun bathing savasana and then spent time connecting, eating, drinking and exploring the local Charleston vendors. Best part—a large portion of the proceeds will benefit my project Poses for Paws which helps build awareness and raise money for animal shelters and other fantastic programs.
Moral of the story—regardless of rain or shine, if you pack the right intention, offer your heart and sense of humor, oh yes—and build it—they will come.