Flying Yoga Shauna

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.

Um, om?

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.

Yay for the hipster haven that is the Temescal district!

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.

About that…

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!


10 thoughts on “Flying Yoga Shauna

  1. Good for you, trying something (again!) that intimidated you. I’m basically a Kundalini-yoga-vangelist (like an evangelist, get it?) these days….have you ever tried that on video? If they offer it as a class, I would highly highly recommend trying it. Kundalini is more about (from my experience, at least) the flexibility of the spine, and moving energy through the whole body, with the supporting tactic of strengthening core muscles. As opposed to other forms of yoga that focus on balance and flexing the whole body. I absolutely LOVED the way I felt after every video; very energized and encouraged (I’m notsomuch flexible lol) and much better posture the whole day.

    • Shauna says:

      Wonderful suggestion, Rebecca! As a voice teacher, I am constantly working with spinal alignment and thinking about how the body can be efficiently organized around the spine. Kundalini is definitely something for me to explore!

  2. When I started getting back into yoga classes a few months ago, I chose Flow Yoga as well. It was a level 2 class and it kicked my butt! Even after going once a week for the last few months, I still have trouble with some of the poses, but going consistently makes a huge difference. I am always sore (upper body esp) the next day, but I feel great too. My hardest challenge is doing inverted poses. I, unlike you, do NOT have the core strength. Most of my weight is on the lower half of my body and being tall doesn’t help. I feel like a corn dog trying to balance on my stick arms 😉 So I do what I can with the class, but adjust to what my body allows me to do if a more complicated pose is involved. I’ve finally learned to tune out what others are doing and don’t care if they notice I can’t do certain things. I’m there to get a workout!

    • Shauna says:

      BWAHAHA – LOVING the “corn dog” image. I am bottom-heavy and can definitely identify with the physical challenges that poses. As people are quick to remind me, the whole purpose of yoga is to do what is right in your body, in the moment. Good for you for looking inward and not being concerned with what’s going on around you!

  3. Julie says:

    Do you have any tips for finding a good yoga studio? I hear it’s all about the instructor, but that means you just have to constantly try new places, which sounds like a pain. My hubs and I want to try doing yoga classes together, but I’m being cheap and waiting to get a voucher to some place close. Heh. Worked for TDM, right? 😉

    I never thought I’d say this, but I actually like the constant adjustments I get at TDM. It really makes a difference in my workout, and I feel confident that I’m not going to hurt myself doing something incorrectly. I think I would want an instructor that is good about surveying the room for bad posturing.

    • Shauna says:

      I *love* that aspect of TDM, though it can be disconcerting to be called out by name.

      I agree that finding enjoyable yoga is a trial and error process. I’d wait for a groupon or living social deal at a large studio where you can take different types (vinyasa, hatha, etc.) and different teachers.

      • Julie says:

        On the flip side, in class last weekend the instructor praised me by name twice! I think I saw my head inflate a good size or two. Which is good. My head is the size of a pingpong ball.

        Riiiight, the different types too! Good idea! Thanks!

      • Shauna says:


  4. My favorite part, besides seeing improvement with each session, is the sweat. Flying Yoga definitely cranks up the heat. It’s amazing to see the constant flow of dewy drops, it feels so refreshing to expel all that energy. And yes, it IS totally sexy! 🙂

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