Know your classics


by Suzanne L. Beenackers

Basic Instinct 1992

Classic : An artist, author, or work generally considered to be of the highest rank or excellence, especially one of enduring significance.

Luxurious white or gold to camel. Those were the colours that Sharon Stone wore in Basic Instinct. I was 20, and her appearance on-screen sparked a desire for winter-white wool, a need for a silver cigarette case, and I kept my hair up and blonde ever since.  Basic Instinct was the first time I saw classic clothing: a timeless style that makes you more beautiful. “Would Catherine Tramell wear this?” – became a guideline for clothes shopping. In 2001 I discovered the movie Tomb Raider and added: “Would Lara Croft save the world in this?” Still unicoloured, close-fitting outfits, but with motorcycle boots and she fired guns instead of cigarettes.

In yoga too, there are a few series, or schools of yoga, that you can call “classic”. For power yoga that would be the Ashtanga Primary Series and for Hatha Yoga it is the Sivananda sequence.

Ashtanga was developed by Pattabhi Jois (word of advice: don’t buy the story of the ancient yoga scripture written on banana leaves)  and counts as the first series that is completely in flow. The transitions between the poses are as important as the poses itself. It starts with Sun Salutations, and then progresses to standing poses, seated, and inversions. There are few backbends, with the exception of upward facing dog which is done about 354 times. You can find the ashtanga salutations here and a 45 minute ashtanga sequence here.

The Sivananda sequence starts with pranayama, then moves to sun salutations, inversions, forward bends, backbends, twists, balance poses and then standing poses. The order (inversions first, standing poses last) is completely the opposite to almost any other school of yoga, and has to do with doing the most important poses first, and also practising the highest chakra’s first. You can find an extensive schedule here, Sivananda Sun Salutations here, and here the basic 12 poses. These poses are also numbered in the bigger schedule.

Vertigo 1958

Celebrity teacher retreats. New studios around town. The most eco-friendly mat or the latest yoga apparel. Keeping up with yoga could be a daytime job, and in ten years the pants will be worndown, the mat is used by the dog and the iconic teacher will have fallen from grace (not calling names here!). But a classic yoga routine could inspire you decades from now.

Basic Instinct’s cool platinum blonde in white was not invented by director Paul Verhoeven. It is one of the many references to Vertigo from Alfred Hitchcock. Had Paul Verhoeven been distracted by contemporary art, instead of relying on his classics, Catherine Tremell would have been played by Cindy Crawford, wearing a green and hot pink leotard. And I don’t know what the yoga version of that would be, but I do know that I don’t want to shop for that. Not even if I would save the world with it.

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