for those who are in or around sane

Wednesday, November 19

thoughts on yoga and whatnot

i realize i havent been providing fun or quality posts of late... i'm a bit rusty agian, so i'll start off with some thoughts on my health.

10lees posted about her bikram yoga experiences in the most recent post on her blog and it got me to thinking about my yoga "journey" of late. about four years ago my friend invited me to join her at the y's late-night yoga class. i think i attended a few sessions but none of them really spoke to me as something i'd become passionate about later on. i didnt know how to correctly perform the poses, the breathing was all wrong, and my back still hurt.

after i moved back to chicago, my pal t persuaded me to join him on saturday late-mornings at this studio in lincoln square. again i was by far and away the least graceful person in the room but the instructor completely hooked me. i didnt feel out of place, which remains my biggest standing point for not attending jazzercise. if you dont feel like you fit in, it's difficult to acclimate yourself. (pause in the convo - mom, your classes are extremely welcoming, it's simply a matter of what my body is comfortable doing). anyway... i spent almost a year of my saturday mornings at this studio, in this hour and a half class. i discovered that my body loves bending and twisting and my mind craves the 1.5 hour focus and release. this class helped me find small moments of peace while my dad was ailing and my mind was racing. my only regret about moving to wicker park was the longer drive to the studio - i kept trying to go.

it was almost an addiction. i felt pressure from my body to go to class - saturday mornings i'd wake up early and crave that peace and strength. of course hangovers and trips and general laziness prevented me from going more than a few times, but on sunday night i could always tell that i should have gone. a cramp in my calf or soreness in my back would remind me that i'm not taking the right time to completely relax.

then i moved to the suburbs where i was pleasantly surprised by corporate yoga. i really missed my studio. it kept me going through some hard times, and to be so far away from it was almost unbearable. but my sister showed me how helpful a regular, uber-large gym could be. and then my close friend joined me. together or alternately, we explored the pilates and yoga classes. eventually my friend and i chose monday nights with victor who leads a rather intense hybrid yoga class. he uses mostly hatha and bikram poses (nothing extreme), and throws in a few pilates moves and strength theories. i balanced this out with a pilates class and occasional elliptical runs. my body responded extremely well.

while in the burbs, i tried out hot bikram yoga. it's held in a 104 degree room, and an instructor leads you through the series of poses over an hour and a half. at this juncture in my yoga journey, i was pretty bad at it. i couldnt do any of the poses where back strength was needed and i couldnt quite get a hold of my breathing. so i basically quit after a few classes and kept attending victor's class to gather more strength.

so back to the city i move, and i can only attend victor's class on monday nights. i cant seem to get my butt to the old studio. i have an elliptical and i used it regularly, but my back pain increased to an almost unbearable point. so i tried chiropractic work. i was shocked at how curvy my spine is (it's getting MUCH better) and i went gung-ho into my therapy for it. i think this last one ended up breaking my muscle barrier - all of a sudden i'm excelling in victor's classes. my strength and flexibility is at least 20% more than i had previously. i'm stoked. it feels real good.

but i also feel like i need a change-up. so i found a killer deal at a bikram studio right by my house, and i've gone to quite a few classes. even on day one the experience felt completely different from my suburban try. my breathing was dead on, my hydration was perfect, my poses were accurate (i can even do toe stand pose!).

i know that after my deal is done at this new bikram studio that i wont go nearly as much as i am now. i'll be lucky to get there once a week. but i found a warm respite for the middle of winter - someplace near my house where i can go to be toasty and peaceful, challenged and relaxed. i'm simply content to know that i found something to do for my body that makes me so happy. i'm not sure where my yoga journey will take me next, but i'm looking forward to a whole lifetime of new opportunities. my goal in life - to be bendy at 80!!


Blogger clumsygrace said...

I'm so freaking jealous! I am still trying to do toe stand, but my stomach muscles aren't strong enough for me to balance (lean back). I can get most of the way into the pose now, but I have that last little bit to do.

My last class was hellish, but I'm going back of course... but then Bikram is my life...


10:14 PM

Blogger L M said...

Very cool!!!

My goal: get back to pre-babe shape. I think I'm going to try my hand at swimming, because it's free. :)

6:42 AM


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