Friday, August 10, 2012

Fitness Friday: Anatomy of Nirvana (or The Best Live Yoga Class Ever)

I recently had the great pleasure of attending a dear friend's first public yoga class.  Erin was nearing the end of her required 200 hours of teacher training and, after weeks of practicing on her fellow trainees, invited some friends and colleagues out on an exceptionally  humid Georgia morning for a {free} class.

When I say the class was perfect, I'm not just being biased. Unlike most yoga classes I've taken this one didn't immediately begin with break-neck sun salutations.  Rather, Erin eased us into the morning practice with some slower poses - both standing and on the mat.

Once the juices were flowing, she progressed to more challenging poses, but rather than sticking to a preplanned agenda, she seemed to be constantly taking the pulse of the class - suggesting a modification if she noticed one person struggling or encouraging another person to tackle an advanced variation if she thought they were ready.  Her philosophy was Montessori-like: she was there simply as a facilitator or guide, not to demand or require.  Each person's  practice remained his or her own.

She even took requests and included two of my very favorite poses: triangle and pigeon!

By the end of class, I had muscles quivering all over.  Paradoxically, my body felt both calm and invigorated, having pushed myself both body and mind.  It was perfection!

It is rare for me to take a live yoga class.  It is hard to find the time away from family and business obligations, and at ~ $15 per class, it's a treat I can't afford to indulge in too frequently.  But each time I do, I am rewarded not only by transitory feelings of physical satisfaction, but I invariably take away something to use on my own: a slight variation in a hand position that gives new life to a pose, or the courage to tackle a more challenging pose for the first time.  In short, even if each class isn't as perfect as Erin's, it is worth every penny.

Every week, I endeavor to leave you with something you can use - a tip or an exercise sequence - that you can try without having to spend any money.  Today, I am encouraging you to take a live yoga class AND, you may be able to do just that without opening your wallet!  September (only three weeks away) is National Yoga Month and studios across America are offering free yoga classes!  For example, last year I took advantage of NamasDay - a special yoga event at one of my favorite lifestyle chains, Exhale, AND they will celebrate the occasion again with free yoga classes on September 20.

So do your homework now (the Yoga Health Foundation has a search feature for participating studios) and get ready for some special bliss come September!


Photo Credit

No comments:

Post a Comment