Thursday, June 14, 2012

Yoga Triumph

So, I mentioned that while in Maine I took a yoga class that was totally wrong for me. Regardless, I committed to two additional classes the following week at the same studio.

I attended a one-hour Power class and absolutely loved it. The practice was led by the owner of the studio and she gave me the challenge I needed. I sweat so much I had to flip my mat over halfway through the practice. It's not that I don't appreciate the emotional and mental aspects of Yoga, it's just that I prefer to incorporate them into the physical aspect at my own pace. I don't like having those elements forced on me when I'm not open to them. When the instructor asked us to set an intention in the Power class, I chose to open my hips up throughout the hour. By the end of the practice, I felt it. I was there. I stayed on task and got the mental workout I also needed.

The Power class was so awesomely intense I could barely move the next day. So I headed to the Slow Flow two days later to work that out. Again, this class was more my pace. It gave variations and while it wasn't as physically strenuous as a Power class, it did offer a challenge. Which was good, because remember how I could barely move? Oh man.

What's my point, you ask? Well. I want you to know that even after 7 years of practicing Yoga, I occasionally attend a class I don't like. But I don't let it discourage me from continuing my practice. I understand that on any given day, a teacher could be "off." That might mean my practice suffers because s/he didn't deliver for the students. And just because I don't like one style of Yoga, it doesn't mean I won't like another.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yoga Fail

Before my trip to Maine, I looked up Yoga studios in Freeport so I could get some practices in while there. I wanted to take advantage of Kev being available to watch Aspen, and once I found out there's a studio almost in my parents' backyard, I got really excited. I walked over on Friday morning and it probably took three minutes.

The studio is built in what used to be the local market, which was recently upgraded in a neighboring lot. It's amazing to go into the old market and see it 100% transformed. Freeport Yoga Company now has an open reception area and a huge studio where the checkout lanes used to be. So weird.

The class that morning was definitely not my favorite. It was actually the most boring class I have ever attended in my life. I always feel sad when people tell me they don't do Yoga because it's boring. But now I get it- too many people attend the wrong kind of class. For me, the wrong kind of class is one that focuses on vishudda, or the throat chakra. Actually, any class on chakra awareness is probably going to be one that I hate.

I have no interest in breathing into my chakras (energy points in the body). I also have no interest in back bends when I already have lower back pain. I had to keep doing my own modifications for poses because the discomfort was so great in the traditional versions. Maybe as an instructor myself I'm expecting too much, but I was also disappointed that hardly any variations were offered to the class, nor was there any inquiry from the teaching regarding what any of us needed in our practice that day. It seems that this particular class is on a schedule, and they're methodically going through chakras, following the outlined practice the instructor had with her. While that kind of preparation is awesome, it just meant I was totally unfulfilled after a 75 minute class.

Also? I realized my bladder was extremely full after the first 20 minutes. I think my body absorbs the humidity and immediately turns it into pee. NOT COOL!!

So yeah. Disappointing class that day. Still, I put on a brave face and planned to attend a completely different class (with a different instructor) the next week.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Yoking more than just mind and body

There were two familiar faces in the back of the class, and I spent the entire hour trying to place them. Did I live in the same dorm as one of them during college? Are they friends-of-friends? Did I try to evict one of them in my property management days?

After class concluded, the mystery was solved. The red-head told me she and her friend used to take my Pilates class, which would have been over a year ago. I was flattered they remembered me, and more still when one commented on my music selection.

"I love Band of Horses and Regina Spektor!"

I smiled, because who would have thought my music would blend so well with Kev's for a Yoga playlist? I admitted I couldn't take credit for all of it, and told her I'd pass the compliment on to my husband.

She also told me she originally attended Yoga about a year ago, and absolutely hated it. The instructor was very challenging, and offered no modifications whatsoever. She felt like she sucked at Yoga and would never do it again. But after attending my class, she felt renewed confidence.

"I want Yoga to be for everyone," I told her. "That's why I'mconstantly showing variations. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge the strengths of others, especially if they're different than our own."

I don't know if they'll come back again, but I'm hopeful. It's moments such as those that keep me motivated to teach. When the music reaches someone, when they realize they can do Yoga, that's what makes it worth it for me.