My wife and I finished our fifth yoga session in six days today. Nothing shows more commitment than doing hot yoga on a day where it reached 30 degrees C in Calgary! Today’s session at the nearby Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre was called Yang/Yin. It’s a combination of styles of yoga – Yang being muscle strengthening, via challenging positions for lengthy periods of time, and Yin being more restorative with concentrations on breathing and facial (connective tissue) stretches.
Of the 5 classes we attended, two were hot, three were not (though still sweat-generating). We enjoyed three different instructors and tried out class times ranging from 4pm, to 5:30pm, to 7:15pm, to 9pm. The styles we auditioned were Moksha, Restorative, Anusara Inspired, Prana Restore and Yang/Yin. Going in to this new yoga adventure, I wasn’t aware that the class options would be so different from one another, although in retrospect I suppose I ought to have considered that there could be many ways to approach it. Moksha, as previously discussed, was a hot yoga class which provided me a great workout with great flow, adequate difficulty and resultant satisfaction. Restorative was quite the opposite – not heated (though still warm), and little in the way of workout and challenge, and more to do with relaxation, beneficial body positions held for long periods and breathing. Probably good for people suffering from work related stress or injuries or people with chronic pain. Anusara was an interesting class: not heated, with a great deal of breathing exercises and focused on energy release and your positive and grateful attitude throughout. Difficulty was higher than Moksha (for me). Prana Restore had a lot to do with breathing, and I noticed a faster pace. The difficulty was fine, and last third of the class was restorative, so again focusing on relaxing and comfortable body positions. The hot Yang/Yin class presented perhaps the most challenge, in that positions were held for a long time and were quite arduous – lots of positions paying attention to thighs and abductors, as well as lower back. It burned a little too good at times!
Looking back, I enjoyed Moksha the best. That class, combined with a great instructor, gave me the most rounded workout/stretching/mental experience thus far, and so I think I will attend those sessions more than the others for now. My one-week unlimited pass has now expired and it’s on to a slightly more expensive unlimited monthly pass. I have to check and see if my employer or benefits offer any kind of coverage for fitness such as this. I don’t think they do, but they ought to! I’ll make a case for it. My wife and I are going to plan on going four times each week – every other day as it fits our schedules.
I haven’t gone all born-again buddhist or anything, but I must say that yoga is proving to be a very inspiring activity. More enjoyable and fulfilling than I expected, by a long shot. Not only is it something I look forward to, but I get an awful lot out of it as well. To find an activity that works out my body, stretches my tight muscles and helps alleviate the opportunity for pain is great, but I’m finding that yoga also encourages me to become a better, more mindful breather, thinker, focuser, and slows me down… Couldn’t we all use a dose of that?
Sitting in my media room this morning, watching football and baseball, I felt myself tumbling into an all-to-common psyche of laziness – enjoying watching TV that could have stretched on for hours and not having an exciting alternative to draw me away. Though this time I did, however – yoga. And despite the overload of yoga classes of late, I was excited to go back again and it paid dividends. Not only did I get my muscles stretched and worked out, and not only did I work up a good sweat, but the practice of yoga being so focused on your mind and breathing really helps to balance my energy and refocus your mind on productive activities. I found myself in predictable doldrums and yoga helped pull me out. I’m very excited to continue this positive and worthwhile endeavor.
In other news, Moby‘s new album, “Wait For Me” rocks, and I only need to find some time to appropriately review it for you. If you trust my taste in music, then let me just say that this is a great CD and I highly recommend it. Fans of his earlier work will not be disappointed.