Monday, October 24, 2011

Try New Things - Class #5 - Hot Vinyasa Yoga

After the warm yoga experience in Class #4, my yoga-riffic buddies convinced me to try out a vinyasa class.  Apparently, vinyasa is movement-based yoga and each movement flows into the next.  So, we agreed to meet for a Hot Vinyasa class yesterday.

Elena, Karen and Mila are all experienced yoga students, but Michelle joined us and she is about my speed of yoga (remedial).  As is my habit in a new class (OK, in any class), I tried to get on the back row with Michelle, and not one, but two other attendees literally elbowed me out of the way!  Whew, who knew that people were so particular about their yoga locations!  So, I ended up front and center, which is way outside of my comfort zone, but it was probably better since it kept me on my best behavior and in the moment.

We did a warm-up with closed eyes, which was surprisingly relaxing.  It was really more of an ease-in because the room was plenty warm, but we started moving around gradually, which was a nice way to begin.  The instructor did not model the poses for the class, but walked around the room while guiding us with her voice.  While I felt a bit adrift at times when I didn't recognize the pose she meant, it was easy enough to open my eyes and copy what everyone else was doing.  And, while she was guiding us through our warm-up/ease-in the instructor told us about the meaning of the word yoga and gave us some deep thoughts on the idea of unity.  This part, when combined with some other stuff I was thinking about, made me cry.  Luckily, I am used to crying during the songs in church, so I didn't worry too much about it.  I learned that it is not unusal at all to cry in yoga.  The instructor also had a few things to say about accepting your body, which I thought was pretty awesome.  This jibed very well with the varying degrees to which we could perform the poses in the class.  Some could touch their toes, some could not.  Some were on left feet, some on right.  Some could back-bend, some could not.  It was nice to see all of the variations and hear that they were all OK.

The flow class really was about constant movement, which I appreciated.  We moved from pose to pose in a similar order to the sun salutations I remember from my last (only) real yoga class and did a LOT of yoga pushups in between the different poses.  The pushups were very difficult, but even some of the routine stuff like going from downward dog to warrior pose was challenging for me.  I liked this flowing kind of yoga a lot.  It was hard, but relaxing at the same time.  The heat, instead of being an afterthought, really wove in with the class so that while it was gently warm at the beginning of the class, it got oppressive at the end so that it was a complete relief to do the cool-down poses that felt most comfortable.

Our last exercise after the flowing exercises was to join arms for a last stretch (almost a runner's stretch) on each side.  While you'd think that we might have felt silly doing this, it was really nice, except that the lady next to me did not want to touch me.  Not her fault that I am a sweat monster.  The instructor left us with some good thoughts about the duality of emotions and actions, which was a good way to end.

All told, I give Hot Vinyasa an enthusiastic thumbs up.  I would definitely look forward to another class.

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