We went to a yoga class last night at Calgary’s Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre, which is on the western edge of Kensington, very near to our house. Sarah, my RMT (registered massage therapist) ‘highly recommended’ (in other words, basically required) that I start going to yoga in addition to bi-weekly massage appointments because of very high muscle tension and very low mobility in my back and shoulders. Although I’d never had any interest in it, my wife enjoys yoga quite a lot and has been eager to do more. Finding out that I was slated to begin was rather exciting to her.
The 60-minute yoga class we went to last night is called Moksha, which is heated. Moksha, a spiritual term used in Indian religions, focuses on strength, balance and flexibility, and is good for beginners. Each of the 40 postures were unique, testing different muscles and joints, and some were very challenging. I fell over a couple of times, but I was testing myself quite a lot. Our instructor, Eric Pattison, was wonderful. He slowly meandered around the dimmed room of 23 students and encouraged us to breathe and smile. He described in vivid detail each pose we were attempting to perform and the muscles to be focusing on, and whispered to individuals when he thought they could fix a little something in their posture. I never knew how much of a workout yoga was! My muscles were vibrating as we finished the session; a sure sign of fulfilling, strenuous exercise. The ‘hot’ environment was excellent for maintaining elasticity in my muscles and by the end of the class I was soaked and dripping sweat from scalp to toes – and I’m not a sweater. It felt great! Upon getting home, I remarked how I was clear-minded but tired; full of energy, but fatigued, and excited, but calm. As best as I can describe it, I felt very positive and unimpeded communication between my mind and my body.
Bodhi Tree offers beginners a one-week unlimited pass to allow people like me an opportunity to try out several different classes before settling on either a continuing unlimited pass, or punch cards, or specific class registration. We bought the one-week unlimited passes and will be returning tonight. We’re planning to make five visits in six days, including last night, to really find the right fit. It’s early, but I am very enthusiastic about yoga – it’s certainly opened my eyes and mind, made my body feel great, and provided a low impact, sustained, total body workout. What could be better?
It’s tough to make a complete, critical assessment after only one visit, but I’d certainly recommend yoga to anyone looking to increase their relaxation and mobility, and limit stress and muscle tension – goals that seem to be on everyone’s list these days. Hot yoga seems to be especially great for people like me with chronic pain or muscle issues, as your body relaxes that much more and easier. The great thing about yoga is that you don’t have to be great to get something out of it. It’s a slow and deliberate stretching routine that demands effort, not perfection. It removes your mind from all of the day’s stresses and completely reinvigorates you. I’ll let you know how the rest of the week progresses…