Sunday, June 21, 2015

Yoga Challenge, because I am THRIFTY, and my ham strings are tight.

The dance class schedule kind of slows down for me in the summer. Luckily, a local yoga studio offers a new student discount (unlimited drop-in classes for 2 weeks for $20!!!!!!!!!). If I go twice, I've already gotten my money's worth. So yes, I accept this challenge. I shall om and namaste until the cat / cows come home, or two weeks is up, whichever comes first.

And I've already gone four times! Last Saturday was a lovely traditional yoga class, with some great hip stretches, and a wonderful shavasana. As a belly dance student, I get some super-tight hips. There are probably mechanical things that I am doing wrong (throwing out instead of down, or pelvis positions), so I always appreciate a good Pigeon Pose. I was amused by the glitter stuck to my mat from a prior dance class or costume, and the hilarious "facial" expression on the electrical outlets (like below). I would have taken my own picture, but it seems very wrong to bring a camera into the studio to me. (Potential Yoga Faux Pas #1)


Monday, Lindsey and I went to the "introduction" to yoga class, where the instructor uses a different style from time to time. And oh yes, there are SO many different styles. A quick Google (or heck, any medium-sized yoga studio's class list) will tell you that. Apparently they had just trained in bowspring posture, or Sridaiva. From my dance training, it seemed like a very awkward and not particularly healthful posture. Pelvis tipped back. Knees bent, almost all the time. Shoulders pulled back, chest open, stomach "long". Lots of scraping your foot back, to twang your own hamstrings. Which honestly, every massage therapist (yes, BOTH of them) has told me I have very tight ones. Why would I want to make them tighter? This is why I DO yoga, to do something that doesn't tighten my hamstrings and hip flexors. But we were game. We did the little jumps, held our hands in a crazy claw position, tried to kneel over a block for "relaxation". I can't say that I'm a fan, but I tried it.

And there, I believe I committed Yoga Faux Pas #2, wearing a t-shirt with distracting word graphics on it. Sorry, fellow yogis. I like WIDR-FM. A yoga-fan friend says she's never heard that was a problem, but I know I wouldn't appreciate trying to decipher a classmate's t-shirt, so I will try to avoid doing it again.

Two days after Sridaiva class, my thighs were still screaming. So I plotted my day around a Yin Yoga class, to take it slow, hold some poses, relax, you know. I had made yoga a priority. I was feeling pretty proud of myself, and I checked in to class. I should have sensed something then, from the desk attendant's expression, or the fact that the door to the studio was closed. But I was in fact 15 minutes late, something I could have avoided if I had listened to the little voice at home telling me to look at the schedule one more time. I unrolled my mat as quietly as I could, as they were already clearing the chakras by chanting, and I jumped in right at the throat (oh, HAMMMMM - how you crack me up...). Once I got over my own embarrassment and rushing feeling, I loved it. I loved holding the poses longer, I loved the chanting, and the sighs, and the comfort. Not too shocking - you know I love the woo woo already. And now I can let go of my annoyance with anyone who shows up late, because it has already been me. Yoga Faux Pas #3 has been committed, and accepted.

Yesterday I went to another "community class". I don't think it was a "heated flow" (aka, "hot yoga"), but that was certainly the most I've ever sweated in a yoga class. At first I wondered if it was from the excesses of the night before - maybe my little body wanted to get all of the Oberon out of my system. But despite the fact it is not productive to compare your pose to anyone else's, I was reassured to see others drip as well. I gave the instructor at the end my sweaty sweaty feedback. He said he would take that as a compliment.

I'm also trying to go through a little 5 pose flow every morning at home, to wake myself up and break the habit of phone scrolling in bed. Child's pose, to cat/cow, downward dog, hip fold, triangle.

The overall intent is to get me to Tribal Revolution without completely stiffening up. I also really love the language of yoga. the attempt to connect the mind and body through impossible instructions. Breathe into your lower back. But that's impossible! And yet, I can feel the difference.

So here we go. I love a good challenge!