Back in February, I purchased a generous Groupon for 15 classes at Oakland’s Flying Yoga Shala.
(Get it now? I’m hilarious!)
Not sure why it took me so long to redeem them. Probably because it had an activation deadline of July 4th and waiting until July 3rd provided a great opportunity to feel unnecessarily stressed. So yogic, I am.
So, I haven’t taken a yoga class since 2005. When I first moved back to California, I went to class at a studio in an affluent neighborhood. I don’t remember much beyond being totally intimidated by wealthy, fit yoga ladies. I was not fit, not affluent and I believe I slipped off my mat a couple times. It was humiliating and surely cemented my aversion to group fitness classes and fitness experimentation in general. For the next seven years, I practiced sporadically and privately.
My body, fitness level, and confidence have changed dramatically, especially in the last year. Still, I seem to be hard-wired to fear potentially embarrassing situations. New things make me so nervous!
Wanting a challenging but reasonable workout, I chose Lily’s Power Flow class. The athleticism of this vinyasa-style class appealed to me and the description indicated that it was appropriate for beginners. I didn’t know exactly what to expect but after several months of TDM, I imagined I would be able to handle it. I arrived at the studio which is lovely and intimate.
My mat is ages old and has bits of kitty litter stuck in the grooves so I opted to rent one. I set myself up next to a friendly looking woman and did a bit of obligatory “I have used my body before for choreographed bending” stretching. The instructor came over to introduce herself and ask me about my background. I was glad to be on her radar since there is a lot of potential for n00b body misuse in an hour and a half yoga class.
The biggest challenge of this class was curbing my impulse to push myself beyond what’s reasonable in my body. There were a few poses that required flexibility or strength that I absolutely did not have. There were many things that were well within my current capabilities -like child’s pose or anything that requires me to sit still and not doing anything. Lily adjusted several students during the class but there wasn’t nearly as much hands-on adjustment or cuing as I’m used to in TDM where it’s nearly impossible to do a pose incorrectly. I was fairly conservative since it was my first class but I did opt to do plow and a supported shoulder stand. I knew I had the core strength to support myself but today I have two points along my spine where the vertebrae feel bruised. Thin mat on a wood floor. Must get a thicker and squishier mat if I’m going to do things where I balance on my bony bones. In this context, I must also continue to respect my body’s limitations and stretch them while not attempting to blow right through them. In TDM, if I attempt to do something beyond my capability, I will either fail or actually reduce the efficacy of the exercise. In yoga, between my lack of familiarity and the less specific cuing, there really is potentially for injury.
An hour and a half is a long time to work out in a hot room. I can’t remember the last time I was that sweaty! Felt kinda sexy though…
Today, I’m huuuuurting. My upper body is especially sore. I went to TDM later in the day and used heavier weights but I’m guessing the soreness is mostly due to doing something new and different. Taking a much needed rest day.
Overall, it was a good class and I’m looking forward to returning to both Lily’s class and trying others at Flying Yoga!