Saturday, 10 November 2012

NaNoBlogMo2 - Yoga

Yoga is one of those hobbies that just sort of creeped up on me.

I went a few times on the invitation from my friends Sabrina & Kathryn, and mostly went to be social since I rarely get to see them (despite the fact that they both live less then 10 minutes away from me). I actually put off going for a while when I was at my heaviest. I didn't like the idea of not having the stamina to make it through the class, or getting embarrassed if I couldn't keep up or do all the positions. At some point I realized that putting off exercise until you are in shape doesn't really make sense (plus I had shed quite a few pounds on diet alone), so I finally tagged along.
At this point let me say that I would still consider myself very much a yoga n00b, despite having gone about 10+ times or so. I don't really know the terms or styles and I've really only had one instructor. So. That warning label aside...
At a "Yoga in the Streets" event in West Hartford this July.

I like it. Coming from a dance background, I especially like that Nykki, the Saturday morning "Power Yoga" instructor, plays music during class and often has us flow through different positions in a way that feels very much like choreography.

Its also served as a way to show myself that I am getting stronger and fitter. When I first started showing up for yoga classes, more then 30 seconds in downward facing dog and my arms and legs would be shaky and painful, but now I feel stronger. Steadier. After every class I have a satisfying whole-body ache that comes from a good workout. And almost every time I leave thinking two things: 1) I did not know I could get into that position and 2) I did not know I could sweat that much.

Each class ends with shavasana (huh, I guess I do remember some of the terms), which basically involves lying on your back and meditating/breathing. Sometimes there is a prayer/positive thinking moment. I am not a religious person in the least. I would consider myself agnostic: I would love to be proven wrong but at no point have I felt the existence of a higher/greater power and there is no part of me that believes there is. I also tend to be extremely cynical when it comes to most things that fall under the umbrella of "New Age". And yet, I do think there is something to be said about the power of thought and the importance of clearing your mind once in a while. That is a large part of why I think I feel so good after yoga. It forces me to be in my body and to get out of my head. I focus on my breath for a lot of things. To get through pain, to help me relax, to help me fall asleep. Spending some time turning off the constant stream of conciousness once in a while and only thinking about breathing in and breathing out is very refreshing.
Easy Bird of Paradise
As a quick side story, in the last class I went to before today's, I realized how much of kid, or specifically a teacher's pet, I still am. While getting into the pose "easy bird of paradise" (despite the name, not the easiest position), I was able to get into the pose smoothly and confidently. Nykki made eye contact with me and gave me a quick smile and nod. That was it. And yet I felt as proud as a first grader who just got a scented "GOOD JOB!" sticker on their spelling test. :D

I've got two more classes on my card. At the moment I'm a bit torn if I want to add more when I use those up or start looking more seriously into taking up a dance class or other hobby again like I've been thinking about. I guess we'll see when the time comes!

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