A yoga stream of consciousness.

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{These are my – somewhat edited and very much abbreviated – thoughts from the 7 yoga classes I attended during my week of yoga.}

Day 1 – 7:30 AM – Hot Yoga @ a local studio

Okay.  Day 1 yoga, here we are.  Accompanied by Meta {my cousin} who is one of the kindest and most genuine people I know, and a yoga instructor herself.  I hope I can a) keep up; and b) avoid passing out from the heat.  The teacher is named Margarita.

Which makes me want a margarita.  At 7:30 AM.  In yoga class.

There are only four of us in the class.

It’s hot.  But it feels fantastic.  Lots of stretches for the neck and shoulders.  Margarita (the instructor, not the beverage) tells us that the neck symbolizes how flexible we are in life, how open we are to other people and ideas.  This makes me examine internal self with concern because my neck is not very flexible.  Oh dear.

Ahhh, shavasana does a sweaty body good.

After yoga, Meta and I go for fresh juice.  So perfect.

Day 2 – 5:30 PM – Non-hot Yoga @ my regular gym

Pre-class, I am lacking in yoga-zen.  The parking lot was a zoo. I had to pee really bad.  The restroom smelled like sewer.  There are two guys talking really loud (okay, probably normal volume, but no one else was talking – get a clue, guys – this is quiet time) in the yoga room.  I’m hungry.  Not angry, but certainly cranky.  Hanky (hungry + cranky).

The teacher arrives.  Her name is Robin and she proves to be quite terrific.  As we begin the poses and I stretch out my slightly sore (from yesterday’s class) muscles, I begin to unwind and get less hanky.  Hungry still, certainly.  But the crank begins to ease.

Robin tells us that it is a sad week for the yoga world.  Indian yoga master Iyengar has passed away at age 95.  Much of the technique that Robin uses comes from Iyengar.  She leads us through one of the flow sequences the Iyengar loved.  Our class as a whole resembles a colony of penguins as we attempt the difficult sequence.  I am too busy trying not to fall over to remember the name.

By the end of class, I have found my zen once again and am joyfully singing the praises of yoga in my mind.

Day 3 – 7:30 AM – Hot Yoga @ the same local studio as day 1

Margarita is not the instructor today.  I think this girl’s name is Mya.  She begins class 10 minutes late, which is aggravating. 

Again, there are only four people in class.  Per Mya, we’re going to focus on silencing our mind, so there will be no music.

It is really hot.  Probably 100 degrees hotter than day 1, which was already pretty hot.  Mya is relentless.  Pose after pose after pose.  I really just want to curl up in the fetal position.

The preferred style of yoga instructor is such a personal thing.  Mya is tough – this is the hardest class I’ve attended this week.  But she is not my favorite style of instructor as she includes a great deal of yoga fluff.  I don’t mind some yoga fluff – the right amount helps me stay centered.  But by the end – when we’re curled up with our legs pulled into our chests, rolling up and down on our backs to the left nine times (to symbolize the nine months we’re in our mother’s womb) – I’m pretty much done.

Since class started 10 minutes late, we’re ending 10 minutes late and I can’t enjoy shavasana because I’m too wound up about running behind schedule.  Maybe Margarita was onto something with her neck analysis on day one….

Day 4 – 10:00 AM – Meditation @ the city museum

I meet Leann and Katie at the museum for the meditation training and practice session.  I’m glad to have a day off from the mat – little red marks have formed on the hinge of my palm and wrist from all the downward dogs. Yoga battle scars, per se.  Meditation is going to be a piece of cake.

Except it’s not.  Geez. Breathing is hard work.  Katie is one of those overachiever types who insists that we sit in the front row, right in front of the teacher.

Who is awesome.  His name is S. S. Gurbachan S. Khalsa and he is renowned worldwide for teaching meditation.  He begins by saying, “We live by our breath.”  He leads the group through three different breathing and meditation techniques.  Each set of three lasts eleven minutes at a minimum and is challenging.

Later he says, “You can live by the lightness of your soul or the darkness of your mind.”

Two hours and $15 very well spent.

Day 5 – 11:15 AM – Hot Yoga @ the same local studio as days 1 & 3

I don’t know the instructor’s name today, but I really like her.  She said that she got a concussion last night so she won’t be doing the poses with us.  I want to tell her that Wes Welker also got a concussion last night and they are concussion twins, but she doesn’t strike me as a football fan so my connection between the two of them would probably not be important to her.

It’s hot and I’m sweating a lot.  My mind is pretty focused on the poses and doesn’t wander much.  Except during pigeon when my hips began to ache.  The music is fantastic and the nameless instructor uses just the right amount of yoga fluff.  Mostly in the form of affirmations that go with the poses.

By the end of class I’m famished and ready for lunch – this is abnormal as I don’t usually have an appetite after hot yoga.

Day 6 – 5:30 PM – Non-hot Yoga @ my regular gym

Today’s instructor is Paul.  I have attended many of his classes in the past and I really like his style.  He has a very soothing voice and he incorporates a lot of stretching poses. 

I feel myself calming down very fast and it’s a very good balance day.  A previous boss (who was also a yoga instructor) once said that she could tell how well balanced her life was by how successful her balance poses were in her yoga practice.  Now I think of that when I do balance poses – whether they are a struggle or completely under my control.

But back to tonight.  I don’t think much.  I think maybe six days of yoga/meditation have been good for me – I’m able to quiet my mind more quickly than I could at the beginning of the week.

Day 7 – 9:30 PM – Cosmic Hot Yoga @ the same local studio as days 1, 3, & 5

Meta and I met up at her house and drove together to our very first cosmic hot yoga experience.  Cosmic means that the regular lights are off and the black lights are on, so naturally I’d worn my brightest shirt – a neon orange.

Iyengar’s name comes up again – this time from Meta.  She wrote a book and an ARC was sent to Iyengar to review.  He sent her a couple of letters.  What a treat!

With the black light on, it is hard to see what is going on around you.  This is a good thing – I wasn’t looking around at the other folks in the room, worrying about being behind or ahead.  I felt myself just focus in on ME and what the instructor was saying.

I notice a smoky haze overhead at one point and briefly consider that there may be a fire.  No one else seems panicked so I eye the blinking red light of the smoke detector on the ceiling and shrug it off.  Maybe there is a smoke machine – you know, adding to the ambiance.  Anyway, I’m feeling pretty zen.

The class ends, and with it, my seven days of yoga.

My takeaway:

I really enjoyed my week of yoga. It did not take a huge amount of time, I didn’t have to rearrange my schedule drastically to accommodate the 7 classes, and I feel great.  I find that it’s easier to quiet my mind at the beginning of class, and physically, I’m feeling more flexible and toned.  Obviously a yoga class a day is not sustainable for too long.  But this experience reminded me of how much I like yoga and the benefits of regular practice.

What’s your longest streak of daily workouts?  Do you do yoga? 

 

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12 thoughts on “A yoga stream of consciousness.

  1. So glad you completed this seven day challenge and you feel great! One more week of recovery from the baby and I’ll be back on the mat. Practicing three days a week during my pregnancy helped me so much and I lost the 30 pounds I gained in just two weeks. Take care of your body and it most certainly will take care of your soul and mind in return. Great post!

  2. I don’t do yoga AT ALL, but it was fun to read about your experience! It reminded me of the yoga/meditation section of the book Eat, Pray, Love. The closest I’ve come to yoga is co-teaching a Bible study with a yoga instructor (who kind of drives me nuts). She’s all “I only eat meet from organic, free-range farms where I am given the opportunity to meet with the cows,” and I’m like, “Well, I’m cheap and I buy groceries at Walmart.” And she watches in horror as I serve cupcakes and brownies and all sorts of unhealthy food to our Bible Study group. Haha!

  3. I would watch this on a sitcom! I love the way you write and share your internal thoughts from each day. I think I get “hanky” a lot more than I get “hangry”. I’m not really every just outright angry, but I do get a little grumpy when I’m hungry. (which naturally I replaced the “h” with the “gr” to make a funny new word only to realize that I’m saying that I get “humpy” when I’m not fed… yeah, that’s weird… let’s just pretend that didn’t happen ;) ).

  4. This is awesome! I now have a craving for some hot yoga. Although it’s been quite warm in my area, and we don’t have AC so I could make my own hot yoga in my house!

  5. Such a cool recap Amy!! I used to be big time into yoga, but somehow lost the habit, and can’t seem to pick it up again.
    The yoga fluff – I know exactly what you mean. Too much of it is simply too much! Also: you did 2 hours of meditation?? That’s impressive!

  6. “You can live by the lightness of your soul or the darkness of your mind.” i’m gonna be repeating that in my head today! and i’ve done bikram for 8 years, but i’m just now branching out to try other things – i don’t think we have cosmic here, but maybe aerial yoga? okay, maybe not until after the baby is born. probably gotta do simple prenatal yoga for now :)

  7. I love this! I’ve done non-heated yoga for awhile, but I’m curious to try hot yoga. I’m a bit scared of passing out though. And I agree about “yoga fluff”. I giggled at the “nine months in the womb” part…I always have to try not to laugh when the instructors say things like that. I’m glad you enjoyed your week of yoga…this post makes me want to go to a class right now!

  8. Pingback: 30 by 30 – Third quarter update. | A Desert Girl

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