This week I made the decision to finally get out and attend my first yoga class in a studio. I’ve gone to 3 different classes in the the last three days. Three different instructors &two different studios.
As background, the two studios I visited were:
Pura Vida Yoga in Downtown
Bonita Yoga &Pilates
Each class was a Vinyasa 1-2 (my favorite style of yoga)
Generally Vinyasa is done in a heated room, not as hot as birkram but still enough to sweat your bum off if you’re putting in 100% effort.
MY favorite so far is definitely Pura Vida. I’ve never been the “bendy” yogi, but I’ve grown a lot in my practice since I started a little over a year ago. The Flow of vinyasa is fast paced and the two instructors challenged the class to a level that I was comfortable with for where I am in my practice now. They even offer a Vinyasa 2-3 level class, of which I would like to attend once I get a little stronger in some of my weaker areas of practice.
Here’s what I learned:
To start &Finish:
Each class began with a form of meditation, usually in sitting position but I know it can be done in standing form as well. We started with an “OM” and ended with an “OM”
I am new to meditation, but was still happy I could remain present &that I could practice in a class setting. Meditation is a way to surrender your thoughts and body to your breath. Focusing on the space the breath creates and allowing your thoughts to leave.. letting go of any frustration you were holding onto in your shoulders, lower back etc. Continue breathing in from your nose and out through your nose (maybe taking one deep breath in and sighing loudly out through your mouth to start off). From here you continue focusing on your breath. Noticing the space each inhale creates in your chest and shoulders, feeling your spine elongate, and with the exhale.. releasing the breath out, feeling the energy of the breath through your fingertips… it’s really beautiful if you can get to this feeling.. ^_^ I know I’m rambling ..
Meditation will be a separate topic/post.
So that’s how class started &finished (coming back to center). Here’s how I broke it down, otherwise..
The “asanas” -
Of the three classes, I’ve learned which poses/”asanas” are more common. Some of which I tend to avoid in my personal practice because I am not good at them lol. To list a few: Pigeon Pose, Standing Split &Eagle Pose. These three poses came up in all three classes I took. And, surprising as it may seem, I improved in just three days by practicing them each time. CRAZY! That’s what I was hoping to gain by taking these classes but I didn’t expect it so quickly.
Other common poses that I anticipated: Chair Pose, Boat Pose, Crescent Lunge, Warrior variations, &sun salutations. I swear I’m nearly there with Forward folds (my face is inching closer and closer to my shins). I told you before, I’m not bendy so these are big accomplishments for me! lol.
What I would have liked more of:
OF the two classes I took from Pura Vida, there were only two arm balances that we practiced. Anyone who knows me, KNOWS I love my arm balances! LOL.
In the first class we stopped and did Crow pose/”Bakasana” for about 5 breaths. The biggest challenge was jumping back into high plank which is something I’ve never tried before.
In the second class… after killing my hammy’s and thighs here’s the crazy transition she made us do. Start in chair pose.. move to bound eagle (arms crossed and palms touch &knees crossed) to bound warrior III (balance on one leg while extending the other back and parallel to the ground with arms still bound and reaching forward), to standing split (release the arms and fold into the standing leg)… hammy’s screaming bloody murder, leg wobbly, sweat dripping, core tight.. the instructor then offered us to play around and kick up into a handstand if we wished. Handstand? I wanted more than ever to do just that, but for a second or two I realized my leg was planted on the ground and wasn’t going to move. I released it for a bit and kicked up anyway. Leg shaking as it rose into the air in a “L” handstand. That’s as far as I went with that. LOL. Frustrated.. I remained present and thought I am still glad I came and tried, and that this was the perfect challenge. There’s so much to learn. And we continued on to the other leg/side.
I was able to get deeper into some of the poses, for example Pigeon pose. My hips now touch the ground with little struggle .. hopefully a split is in my near future!!
It’s fucking pricey. I paid 20$ for unlimited 2 weeks for newcomers, but otherwise its 99$ a month!?!?
The instructors, while having good intentions.. will come up to you between poses and re-adjust, fix any tension in your muscles, and, or, move you deeper into the pose. This is fine but sometimes it’s weird.. i get really self conscious when Im sweating bullets and all of a sudden I feel someone pulling my core in and massaging my lower spine to the floor on my exhale. Is it just me that thinks that can get border line weird?! idk..
Anyway, I am proud I went and I hope to make some friends along the way. So far the classes are small.. so hopefully I’ll run into familiar faces in the next two weeks. ^_^
At pura vida of course, coz I’ve decided that’s my favorite.