Yoga Log 6.28.11
This post will likely be the beginning of many posts about yoga.. done in a studio. ^.^ (EVEN MORE YOGA POSTS!) I don’t particularly want to churn out a huge essay right now. I’ll try to keep it simple!
I pre-Yelped all the studios in the area before the move. I was so excited to try them all (still am), but I knew where I was going to head first. YogaWorks. It’s a nation-wide (haha um, just north/southern California and NYC actually) chain of studios but their home base is here, West Los Angeles (Santa Monica). Awesome. There were YogaWorks locations close to me in the Bay Area, but I never paid much attention to the multiple Groupons + occasional Facebook posts I would see floating around mentioning the studio. Not until I got hooked. Ari, the owner (and very helpful, cool soul) of http://arilumiere.tumblr.com/ AND also um… completer-of-YogaWorks-Teacher-Training piqued my attention towards the chain once again after I read her testimonial on why she wanted to become an instructor.
I had multiple locations to choose from but I chose YogaWorks Westwood (RIGHT across from UCLA/Westwood Village and also 300 feet from my old apartment 3 years ago) because it was in a comfortable, familiar area. Before I went in for my first class, I did a lot of research. I scanned the reviews on Yelp and thoroughly went through the website. There were negative reviews (from very elite, “hardcore” yogis/yoginis) but I ignored them as most of the casual reviews were positive. Snobby yogi/yogini’s seem counterintuitive. I scoured the teaching schedules and input my email address for a free, unlimited week of yoga. Surprisingly, a very nice lady, “L” emailed me within a few hours and offered a phone/in-person yoga consultation. I took her up on her offer, and called her.
She was super nice (even nicer in person). She listened to me give her the Cliffnotes version of my yoga story and said some.. really flattering things. She urged me to come in the next day for any of the 1 (beginner’s) classes. I told her I would, and mentally prepared for my first class.
My past experiences with yoga classes traumatized me, LOL. Not really (only inside my own head, the actual effect of these experiences on anyone else around me was nil).
1) Hearing terminology I didn’t understand.
2) Attempting to furiously shift my body into something like what everybody else was doing.
3) Constantly being confused. Never not-confused. (I like double negatives #lsat)
4) Pretending to laugh it off and take my mistakes/falls cooly. Talking to my friend a little -_-; (I was 20 that time.. back then I expressed my nervous-awkwardness with overeager animated douchiness.. and I didn’t smoke as much weed)
5) Getting (many) verbal/physical adjustments in a strange new situation I was already uncomfortable in.
6) Being self-conscious. All three times I went, I was looking out at everybody else instead of focusing on myself.
7) Dying (trying Bikram for the first time as an unhealthy, skinny-fat person, June 2010)
Oh, lol. This is already an essay. Wrapping it up!
Vinyasa Flow 2/3 - WAY OUTSIDE MY LEVEL. I for some reason had thought it was a 1/2… there IS NO VINYASA FLOW 1/2, AND FOR GOOD REASON. It is difficult. Still a little too difficult for me (hence all my strength-oriented practices at home). I think I need to write a separate post on exactly what happened during the 2 VF classes I took… quite a few embarrassing moments… -_-; I am humbled and inspired at the same time.
Iyengar 1 - Really enjoyable. I loved using the straps and blocks to perfect my form. Once you get used to how a pose is “supposed” to feel and how to align your body… yoga becomes more fun! ^^ If I started my entire yoga journey with this class, I don’t know if I would have the patience to do it. I feel like I loved it because I was willing to learn it.. I knew what the class was supposed to do and how it was going to help me <3 (Also: a slow introduction to the proper names for all the poses… very helpful since I started with Tara’s non-yoga-jargon)
Yogaworks 1/2 - I hear this class (all classes really) varies with the instructor. BUT I LOVED MINE! My instructor (we will call him Mr. Bananas, because he kept making references to various body parts curving like “a banana”) IT WAS AWESOME OH MY LORDY! The guy teaches like Tara does… he was very beginner-friendly, helped describe poses/transitions in layman’s terms, and was not TOO hands-on (… I WILL write that post on one of my VF classes… the touching was borderline inappropriate because I just SUCKED that badly). His style of teaching was more athletic and fluid and his taste in music was AWESOME ( heard some light electro mixed in with the typical new-age stuff).
All in all - I love studio classes, but I am most comfortable at home. It has helped me realize what I need to focus on before I attempt vinyasa flow again (which I am determined to conquer) and finally broken my irrational fear of ever entering a yoga class again. I no longer focus much attention on my fellow practicers next to me (there are some incredible superstars in VF 2/3) or how they are so much better/fitter than me… my practice at studios feels so focused and… personal now, despite the public setting. And thank goodness I did some preliminary practice at home! That little bit of knowledge/practice did me some good… even in the VF classes I managed to hold modified poses while the rest of the class was off doing crazy things on their arms ^^;
This post is too long already.. but here’s a few specific things I’m working on!
Modified Crow’s pose. Getting used to building strength while maintaining the 90 degree angle of my arms (haha, not pictured) and positioning my legs in the proper place behind my upper arms. This modification is awesome- you’re on the very tips of your toes so you can figure out exactly how much weight your arms can handle and how much your core can support your back form. I’m a long way from being able to do it.. but every day I get closer :)
My modified dolphins are… um… well for now, I can at least keep my arms on the floor and create a
45 90 degree bend… I inch my feet up a little more, a little flatter every day… the strain in my arms isn’t too bad anymore either. I’m getting used to doing more stuff on my forearms thanks to all the planking I’ve been doing.
Dancer’s pose… mine isn’t too impressive yet but I am happy to report that I can smoothly move through a sequence of Warrior 3 -> Tree -> Dancer’s pose!! ^^