Yoga is the MOST NATURAL transition into fitness for any of my past dancers out there. You stretch, you listen to music, you obey the instructor… I love it. When I began practicing yoga (at Sacred Heart University during my Colonization Project for Kappa Delta… Still love my Eta Nu’s!) it was the first workout I ever CRAVED. I practice yoga. I love it. Yoga is one of the only nonprescription cures for insomnia. It helps me sleep. It is the only time I am truly not thinking about work in my entire day. I am only focused on nailing the pose I am working on while keeping every other muscle exactly where it needs to be. Yoga makes me joyful, it helps me to be more patient and gracious, and it helps me focus. Here are my three tips for anyone out there who wants up their Yogi game:
- Finding a yoga studio is HARD! It is so intimidating and expensive. No one actually knows what all of the types of classes are without intense research. You don’t want to go to a studio that is full of hyper-competitive trophy wives who have nailed every difficult pose where it is embarrassing for you to even be in their presence… but you also do not want to go somewhere that is so ‘expressive’ people openly pass gas without an ounce of shame (I have been to both). When I travel, if I am in a town for more the 24 hours, I will try to drop in a class somewhere… I have seen all kinds of kinds. So many of my friends just go to yoga classes at their gym, I prefer a studio because the instructors are so much more authentic. Keep trying, you will find it! I LOVE MY YOGA STUDIO! I go to Yoga Sol in Columbia. Here are the factors I considered when selecting a studio: 1) Price – you can find somewhere that is not $20 a class… I managed to do it in Seattle of all places (I miss you H
ome Yoga!). 2) Ambiance – obviously you need to find a studio that balances your inner hippy and your inner athlete. 3) Instructors/Class Offerings/Times – You have to find an instructor you want to work with during a time of day that is convenient for you and in a class that will challenge you. Yoga Sol is the perfect combination of all three for me… each of us is different.
- Picking your class is even more intimidating. I once went to a yoga class that was a Woman’s Iyengar (WHATEVER THAT MEANS!!!) and the first question they asked me was… ‘ Are you menstrating?’ I walked right out. Nope. Too much, too intimidating. Here is my break down: Hatha is more focused on staying in one pose for a while, to stretch that particular place. Vinyasa is moving quickly and about the strength you build for example, from moving from your plank into your back arch (upward facing dog). Flow means you are constantly moving through the poses. Yin is super slow totally focused on achieving relaxation and stretching – think deep stretch. All of the other words mean you are going to need to look it up yourself because you are at one of ‘those’ studios. ***Now I do not want to offend any of my Yogi’s out there who know what all of this means… I am just talking to my people who are too afraid to even ask questions… people like me, because I know everything and hate asking for help… sometimes. I prefer Hatha, because I like to stay in a pose for a while and stretch the muscle – too many years of dance class. I am the slowest moving person in my Vinyasa classes because I like to feel a pose longer then that style. My muscles are so tight in my back that it sometimes takes an entire class to feel loose. Finally: Pick a good instructor! They make ALL of the difference. It takes me about 3 classes with an instructor to like them as a person and not to be pissed off at them the entire time. After you go once, give it another shot… there will never be two instructors who are the same and they will never teach it like your last class. I ADORE my instructors at Yoga Sol… Like I want to be their friends in real life. They are younger, cooler people, they don’t take themselves too seriously. They sometimes say things like ‘Sh!# that was hard!’ They keep it real.
- I have learned how to do some poses I never though I would be able to accomplish when I first started. One thing that Yoga has taught me is that the intention to do something and going into it thinking you will, gets you farther then you ever imagined.
I remember the first time I ever saw my instructor go from a side plank into a leg lift and I thought to myself… “no way in heck.” I have worked pretty hard on my balance and core… it takes so much concentration and flexibility for me to get this pose nailed down… It is still not where I want it to be but maybe someday!
When I lived in Seattle my instructor practiced this ‘side crow’ in almost every class. This is one of my easiest balances to jump into. I fell A LOT at the beginning… like constantly. Eventually you are supposed to do the splits in this position with your bottom leg in front and your top leg reaching back. You can see me kind of trying in the last pic… Yikes.
This is one of those transitions that surprises the heck out of you. In Columbia my instructor was walking us through this and gave a demonstration, I remember thinking here goes nothing and being so surprised I could ACTUALLY kind of do it. I have worked so hard to get this done. I am still far from perfect, but it is interesting being able to do something I always thought was impossible for me.
Namaste: The light within me honors the light within you. I mean what is a better way to end any workout?
SHOP THIS POST…
Before we shop this post… I bought this shirt at Peck’s Lodge in Stillwater, OK. These pants are the best because they are so high waisted no one will ever see your butt crack in yoga class (one of my biggest fears). This is not my yoga mat (but a similar one)… My yoga mat was $10 at TJ Maxx. It is a Adrienne Vittadini… I wanted a Magic Carpet forever but they are way too expensive. I bought it in Florida and lugged it on an airplane across the country only to find it at my local Marshall’s… Typical.