January was the cleanse. February was yoga.
Matt and I enrolled in an introduction to yoga class a block away from our apartment. I did a bit of research, but not a lot – basically I chose it based on the pictures, the quality of the website, and the location. It’s only a month, and how can we go wrong with having a 2-minute walk to get there??
Soon the class filled the small room to capacity. The room was abuzz. The instructor shut the door.
And then he turned up the heat.
Oh! Somehow I missed that it was hot yoga!!
The heat slowly entered my pores as we sat on the mats listening to the instructor. A show of hands: how many have are experienced at yoga or are a teacher? 1/3 of the class raised their hands. Been to yoga many times but at an intermediate level or it might have been a while? 1/3 of the class raised their hands (including me – but it has been a long while). Just taking yoga for the first time? The final 1/3 of the class meekly raised their hands (including Matt).
So Introduction to Yoga is being attended by mostly tenured yogis and yoginis. It was going to be a long, hard night.
Very quickly we learned we had signed up for Ashtanga yoga. Particularly the style taught by Baron Baptiste (who did yoga at the age of 7). The style called Power Yoga. Oh boy!
It was grueling. I have pretty bad shoulder issues so I was hoping to take it slow and ease into strength and flexibility. But there was no easing into it…
Ashtanga is a particular style of vinyasa yoga that brings you through a sequence of 54 poses done in constant motion. It’s not really made for beginners.
In the beginning couple of classes, it totally kicked our butts. The instructors were great in breaking down the poses into smaller chunks, but it is still constant movement in a hot room for 75 minutes. My muscles were sore after those first few classes!!
But slowly, it got easier. Not easy, mind you, but easier.
I’m already seeing the benefits of yoga, after 7 classes. So much so that I actually miss class and yearn for it during the days between.
It’s not as hard as it was in the beginning, on a few short weeks ago. It’s still hard, my shoulders still have a long way to go before downward facing dog is comfortable and the “relaxing break in the routine” that it’s supposed to be.
My muscles are stronger. I’m more flexible. I have better posture. I am more aware of my breath (good for an asthmatic like me). I am more relaxed. And I feel more energetic.
Matt and I love coming home to eat dinner together after yoga class. We both smile a lot, are completely relaxed, and really enjoy the evening together.
I never would have guessed it, but I actually enjoy hot yoga. I sweat like heck (bring a towel and a water bottle), but I really love it. We plan to buy monthly passes to the studio.