Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gentle Yoga

Before we get to the exciting stuff, do one thing for me: update your bookmarks to please! I know, it's about time. It just makes sense, right? Hooray to the fact that it was still available! If you're subscribing via RSS feed, it should still be the same and will still direct you to A Daily Dose Of Fit. But I will eventually weed that address out in favor of the new one so ya might as well change that bookmark already while you're thinking about it. Go ahead, I can wait...

Got it?

Good. Alright, and now for the exciting stuff: I did some yoga this week! As you know, yoga has never really been a part of my life. I get the benefits, I've played with just never fit my fancy. Although I'm starting to think I never gave it the chance, as so many of you suggested I should. So why the mind shift? I found an article in a recent issue of Oxygen that reiterated the many benefits a decent yoga practice can bring to a fit life that relies heavily on strength training. Said article even supplied a series of six yoga poses, each of which was described in detail. I felt inspired to try them, so I dusted off my yoga mat and set the magazine article right in front of it.

Yoga studio it was not, but my ten-minute session intrigued me. This was on Tuesday. Yesterday, a fellow trainer (Michelle) suggested I join her in the 10:15AM Gentle Yoga class at my gym. I had an opening in my schedule, so I jumped at the chance. I thought: A) why not? and B) perhaps the opening in my schedule was a sign of sorts.

I didn't have my yoga mat, which bummed me out, but I made do using an extra one I found stashed in the back of our equipment room. Fifteen minutes into the class, I realized that I wouldn't be able to attend next week because of a previously scheduled client. I was bummed, and that's when I realized I might have finally caught the yoga bug.

I have to say, the class was great. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to keep up, and there were a few times that I felt lost. I had to stop and check out the teacher to make sure my interpretation of her yoga lingo was correct. But I kept up, and I kept up well if I do say so myself! I think all that strength training I do, combined with all the stretching, made it possible for me to really engage in each and every move. Only once did the teacher correct my form. I was in downward dog, and my shoulders were overextended. Ugh, darn. And that's the one pose I thought I could do in my sleep. Sigh.

After class, Michelle complimented my ability to keep up. She's been doing yoga for a while now, so I trust her observation. I patted myself on the back, then quickly realized how much I felt like jelly. What a great sensation! Total relaxation. As the day progressed, I noticed an overall sense of tightness in my body. Not sore tight, but tight tight. As if that one session magically toned me from head to toe.

Call me crazy, I'd understand.

No, really. But seriously. As I moved through the class, as I concentrated on breathing correctly, I realized one thing: I carry a lot of tension in my jaw. It wasn't hard for me to relax every bone and muscle in my body, but it's as if it all travels right up my neck and into my jaw. I have to really concentrate hard on not clenching every little muscle in there. And even as I sit here and type, I must admit that my jaw is tense.

I need to relax.
I need to do yoga again.

I am going to attend one yoga class a week over the course of the next month, so hear me now! There is a more advanced class at my gym on Saturdays, so maybe I'll give that one a try next week since Wednesday won't work out. Or maybe I'll drill YogaDownload again. But I'm already thinking the class environment is going to be so much better for me. If I can't hook myself in that one month period, well...maybe I'm just not meant to practice yoga.

I'm hoping for the best, and I'm thinking it's going to work out.


Question: If I was the new girl in your yoga class, what piece of advice would you give me?

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win a delicious variety pack of Pure bars! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, April 22, 2011).


Dawn said...

Love yoga and is all about breathing and lengthing your muscles

Unknown said...

I love that you were thinking about your schedule during class. I too have a really hard time completely clearing my mind as the instructors are constantly reminding us to do. You said you felt tight all day. I have the same sensation! I don't get to yoga often but each time I do I wish I could go more. My favorite part: shavasana (sp?). I could stay there ALL DAY and snooze. Who knew lying on the hard floor could be so comfy??

Aly said...

"There is no ego in yoga." You are not better than anyone else, and no one is better than you. Don't focus on what the instructor is doing. Yoga is about your own personal journey and everyone's is different. Try the different classes. If you're anything like me, you will like flowing yoga better than a gentle yoga class.

Erin said...

Hi Tara,

I am pretty obsessed with yoga. I started going during August 2009 and I go 2 - 3 times per week, I love how it stretches my muscles out, helps me breathe deeper and feel more open (especially in my chest and back).

My best advice would be to keep your focus on your own mat. Don't compare yourself to anyone else in class, like Aly said "It's a personal journey" and it's not a competition. As my yoga instructor, Deb says, you don't get a prize for touching the floor.

Also, similarly to my experience with Sports Conditioning, go in with a smile reminding yourself that it's okay to mess up! You're learning something new and it's a fun challenge. Finally, if you are confused about a pose ask your instructor for help AND if you don't like your class try a different instructor, it makes a big difference.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!!!

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