In years past, I have publicly admitted my love for the Oscar Awards and, like so many things in my life these days, had to take that and morph it with my passion for yoga to create the YOGARS. To mix things up this time, rather than nominate my own picks for Best Asana, Best Supporting Asana, Best Yoga Moment, to name a few, I thought it would be cool to let my yoga classes join in the fun and nominate their very own picks for Best Asana. In every class I taught during the week leading up to the Oscars, I took all of their nominations and weaved them into the flow, and each group of students provided an excellent screenplay of asanas to direct. There were a few surprises, like when utkatasana (chair pose) was nominated and a few YOGAR snubs, like the fact that one of the hardest working asanas marjariasana (cat/cow) was not and has never been nominated, despite its awesome ability to warm up the spine.
Here are the poses (and parts of class) that got the most nominations for Best Asana:
- Downward Dog – also affectionately referred to as Dogwood Down
- Warrior 1 & Warrior 2
- Upward Facing Dog
- Child’s pose
- Setting intentions
- Supta Baddha Konasana
- Shoulder stand
- Legs up the Wall
- Supta Padangusthasana – Reclined Big Toe Pose with Strap
If it were up to me, my Best Asana this year would go to Warrior 2 for its unmistakable ability to make me feel like one fierce bad-ass yogini goddess. However, after tallying up all of the nominations, the YOGAR for Best Asana goes to….
It’s a tie!
During the Best Asana class, I also got the opportunity to ask my students to share with their fellow yogis what it is that they love the most about yoga. Their answers were both beautiful and inspiring. Here are a few of my favorites, and I hope I’ve written them here as eloquently as they were delivered:
- Learning to be present and live in the moment, not just in the good times, but the bad times as well.
- The breathing. It has helped me through medical emergencies and was a lifesaver for me.
- I get a whole body balance – mind, body, and spirit.
- The mind clearing.
- The connection with myself and spirit.
- In the hustle bustle of life, it makes me stop and look inward, to grasp what is happening, especially when I’m busy.
- The ability to focus on the breathing. I use it all the time now in stressful situations, like when I’m in the dentist chair.
- It’s relaxing!
- It’s peaceful!
- It is a personal time for me. Something good I can do for myself.
- It slows me down and gives me insight into being alive.
- It is a respite. The people here, the place, it is such a cool venue – it is a mental and physical respite.
- It’s good exercise and fun, but it doesn’t feel like exercise.
- It is the perfect balance of spiritual and physical release.
- Setting intentions
- It gets all the stress out.
Having a YOGA-themed class, gave me the opportunity to include some actual Oscar winners for Best Original Song in my class playlist. No, I didn’t include “It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp,” but these four did make the cut:
“Theme from Shaft” – Isaac Hayes
“You’ll Be in My Heart” – Phil Collins
“When You Believe” – Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey
“Let the River Run” – Carly Simon
These Oscar Best Original songs also would have fit in my playlist and have been my yoga theme songs in the past:
“I’ve Had the Time of My Life”
In the end, though, the YOGAR Best Original Song morphed into the Best Mantra category, and I serenaded my classes with the winner and invited them to chant along with me to Lokah Samastah Sukhinoh Bhavantu which translates to:
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.
And may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life,
contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
I ended class with what you might call an acceptance speech, thanking my students for providing the screenplay for the class, for showing up to their mats, and for making my dream of being a yoga teacher come true!
Wishing all of you a beautiful year of best asanas, lots of best supporting asanas (you know the ones that help you build up to more strength and flexibility or keep you present), and many more incredible moments on this awesome yoga journey.