After much anticipation I finally went to my first heated vinyasa flow yoga class. I’ve been to a few different yoga classes at the gym I belong to and really didn’t like them very much. My sinuses always seemed to give me troubles and the hour long class was way too long for me to keep up with what they were doing. The classes at the gym were always crowded, people coming in late and the regulars had their “spot” that they didn’t appreciate if you took.
I knew yoga was great for our bodies and something I really needed to work into my life, but I needed to find the right fit for me. Melissa (Gluten Free for Good) told me, “The yoga piece aids everything else (digestion, thyroid, sleep, de-stressing, immune function, hormones, etc.). It just doesn’t happen overnight.” When she shared that with me it was like I was hearing it for the first time but at the same time hearing something I’ve known all my life. Love that gal!
So I stalked this local studio that opened about a year ago, Down Dog Yoga. Of course I didn’t stalk them in person, just online. They have a really good website with lots of information on their classes, mission and founder Patty Ivey. One of their studios is really close to my house and in a shopping center where I frequent.
Finally I decided that I was going to not just show up to get my free week of classes but purchase a specific class online. I knew if I waited for the perfect time to try a class I would never find it. I had to have a paid reservation and their online system makes that very easy. One thing that was a big concern for me was all of the classes, except the power hour, were 90 minutes long. In the past I couldn’t keep up with the hour class and the Rodney Yee video tapes that are 30 minutes were too challenging. I thought there would be no way I could do a 90 minute class. But with the encouragement of my awesome nutritionist Melissa and my wonderful husband Scott, and my workout partner JoAnne, I signed up. They reminded me if I could only do 15 minutes than do the 15 and not worry about it. Everyone has to start somewhere. I would never get to 90 minutes if I didn’t get moving.
My first class was last Friday. I arrived early to the class so I could talk to the instructor. I have frozen shoulder and I’m in physiotherapy for that. It’s getting better and I was told I could do anything that didn’t hurt me. (there went that excuse) Jeanne the instructor made me feel very comfortable going at my own pace. Both she and Melissa reminded me that yoga is a practice, not a performance. Listen to my body. It’s perfectly acceptable to take a break and rest in Child Pose.
As soon as you open the door to the studio the 90 degrees rushes over you. It’s not enough to make you start to sweat immediately but it does make me relax.
So I set up my mat right in front of this wide pillar in the room. I thought when I could no longer participate in the class I would have a wall to lean back on. It was also in the center of the room in the second row. This way I had a clear shot to the instructor and I had others in front of me if I needed an example of something I didn’t understand.
Jeanne the instructor talked us through the opening stretches, breathing and poses. It didn’t take long for me to start to sweat but it was a slow moderate sweat that just continued throughout the class. Jeanne was great at offering me alternatives for my shoulder. Instead of the down dog pose I would often be on hands and knees. This worked great. I could keep going and not hurt my shoulder. I did take some time in childs pose and towards the end I just sat for one pose. But other than that I was shocked when class was over. I had been there for 90 minutes and participated in most of that class. I had sweat, twisted, opened, lunged, reached, balanced, stretched, and gasped and I felt amazing.
But of course that *IBSC in my head said yeah, but what about when you wake up tomorrow. You’re not going to be able to move for a week. But that *IBSC was wrong. I did have some soreness but not very much. I knew I had worked muscles that I had not moved in some time, but they were only a little sore, no big deal. I’ve slept in the wrong position and felt worse.
So I headed back to class on Monday for my free week. Jeanne was the instructor again. She’s really good at quietly coming by and helping you get into the right position so you are safe and you are getting the most you can out of that pose or stretch. This time I could do even more during the class. She was great to notice and compliment me. The students that were there on Friday and Monday welcomed me back. They are all so nice.
So I am totally hooked. Melissa has suggested going three times a week. That will be an amazing experience for my body. I can feel the toxins leaving my body. I feel the energy and at the same time the calmness entering. I can feel my body healing. Even my shoulder is getting better at a faster rate. I am so glad I didn’t give up looking for the right yoga class for me. It would have been so easy to just write it off and say, yeah I’ve tried that before and I didn’t like it.
Do you know how many different types of yoga there are? Well I don’t know exactly but I do know there are many to choose from. I trusted Melissa and I’ve seen what yoga has done in her life. I really wanted a piece of that. My desire to become healthy and calm exceeded my fear. Sometimes you have to just trust it will all work out.
If yoga is new to you too and you are looking for a class, ask around. See who you know that might already go to a studio and hear what they have to say. I’ve only gone to two classes and already I feel and see the difference. For the first time in a long time I awoke this morning feeling rested and ready for the day. I wasn’t dragging my butt out of bed. I even woke up before my alarm. Now that might not seem like earth shattering news to you but I have to say I was getting really tired of waking up and wishing I had more time to sleep. Tired of being tired. I know that is the yoga. I also am really loving this feeling that I can’t totally describe. It’s calm but excited. It’s really different for me and I can see and feel the benefits. I can only imagine what this will be like over time.
Do you currently practice yoga? If so what type and how often? What benefits have you noticed? If you have not tried yoga, are you willing to give it a try? Don’t listen to your *IBSC, listen to others who can share the benefits they’ve experienced. I can’t wait to hear your experience.
Oh and in case you don’t remember what the *IBSC is:
*itty bitty shitty committee- that voice in your head that cuts you down and tells you that ugly word, can’t.
You go! I was doing yoga for a while last year and loved it. I guess I need to ignore that IBSC and get myself back to class. Sounds like you have a great support team to keep you on the path.
Went to a wonderfully warm, strong, calm and drippy vinyasa class this morning taught by one of my favorite yoga teachers, Matt. He's my date every Wednesday at 6:30 AM (thank you, Matt).
And thank you, Diane! What a lovely post. You were on my "check-in-on" list today. I was hoping you were still floating on air from last week's yoga class (so glad you are). It's the best, especially as it becomes part of your life. Healing, strengthening and calming. There's nothing better. It's self-meditating and medicating. You cover all the bases at once with yoga.
Sending peace, joy and bendy-twisty love your way.
Yes, it takes a village to keep me going. It's a lot more fun with others. I hope you get back to yoga. I can't believe how much I like this class since I've done yoga before and it was ho hum. First chance you get fire that IBSC!
Melissa- thank you so much for the encouragement. I'm so hooked I look forward to the next class. I've even blocked off the time so I don't schedule new appointments during class time. I was concerned with taking 90 minutes out of a day to take class. What about all my work. Well I'm finding I am actually getting more done and what I don't get done I'm not freaking about it anymore. I'll get to it eventually and if not I do enjoy giving someone else a to do list. 🙂
Way to go ! So happy you found an instructor and class that resonated for you. Truth is it can take a while to find a package like that — (instructor and class that jive for you) but when it happens, it's wonderful!
I feel very lucky in deed. Do you practice yoga?
Oh yeah! about 2.5 years now regularly – took me about 5 to find a place that I felt at home. (for those in Alexandria – my fave spot is Radiance! shameless plug for them!)
Diane, that is great that you finally found the right yoga for you. I practice off and on. I love how alert I feel all day if I am able to take the time and do it first thing in the morning. 🙂
That's great Debi. In one way it makes total sense and in another it seems silly that doing yoga can have so many benefits. I'm finding getting out of the house to do it is a big difference too. I hope you get to practice more on than off.
I love yoga. But last year I hurt my wrist and haven't been back. I need to ignore that *IBSC and go back. I know the teachers can help me figure out how to be kind to my wrist. Glad you liked it! It feels great. So many people poo-poo yoga as if it wasn't a great workout or that they don't want to be a pretzel. It isn't like that at all, huh?! Keep it up! You might have just encouraged me to go back!
Never really got into yoga, though I've long wanted to. National chain gym I go to isn't all that great with the classes, and when I have gone, they're too crowded, and I feel self-conscious, especially cuz I don't have any workout buddies to tag along with. I'd love to do some at-home yoga if anyone has any recommendations for good DVDs 🙂
Renee I think you're right on the misconception. So far I've not been a pretzel yet, maybe a pretzel nib. It really is a total body workout. I hope you make it back. Your body will thank you.
Stephanie you might want to see about other studios in the area. I had the same experience at my gym and I had some good home DVD's but there is no way they compare to getting out of the house and going to a class where someone can give you options and make sure your body is in a safe position. I hope you check it out.
I started HOT Bikram Yoga and I love it – have done it six times now.
Christine that's great. Have you ever done yoga before? How hot is the studio? Have you seen a difference from class 1 to class 6?