My New Year resolution was to try new things, actually get out of the house and have some fun. Part of that was trying fitness classes. Although I may be slightly behind schedule, a few months ago I finally booked a yoga class.
My very first class was in my village. Beforehand I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to do anything and i’d just end up in a corner repeatedly face planting the floor. Turned out I ought not to have worried. We (me and the 2 others who showed up) spent 90 minutes breathing and rolling on the floor like a dead bug. I left £7.50 out of pocket and a bit deflated, yet also strangely proud that I had actually ticked off one of my ‘to do’s’.
It took me a few more weeks to decide to book another class. Feeling a little more confident in my abilities, I opted for an intermediate power yoga class at New Energy Fitness. This class was very different to my first; full, vigorous and challenging. The instructor was great; he created a dynamic flow, suitable modifications and even threw in the odd joke. I left the class on such a high, I couldn’t stop smiling or annoying my mum by talking about it, “mmm lovely dear…sure…aha…hmmm…Eleanor stop waffling I am trying to watch this!”
At £10, the class was more expensive but I felt it was definitely worth it to feel that good. However, when I went to book more classes I was met by a £15 slap in the face. Due to the popularity of New Energy yoga classes, a new studio dedicated to yoga was being built and class prices where being increased by 50%. 50%!!!
Why doth the world punish the poor? And why is Winchester so extortionately expensive?
Earlier this month the new studio opened and despite the price, I was eager to attend another class. To my surprise, my dad showed interest in attending too. This is a man who is not interested in exercise unless it involves woodland/bogs/marked sticks to hunt down. Apparently, his physio told him yoga would aid his joint pain, I knew there was a catch.
10 am on an overcast Sunday morning, we found ourselves downward dogging, planking, cobraing and doing a whole lot of hip opening. The studio was nice, the class was fine but I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ the instructor or flow of the class.
On the other hand, somebody seemed to have a great time; chatting away and stretching muscles he never knew he had.
Low and behold we have a newly converted yogi. “I was sweating buckets…I can see how it helps…certainly makes you more flexible…we should book another class…” he proclaimed. Um… who is this and what have you done with my forest loving father?
What I have learnt
1.Yoga is For Everyone
My dad is proof. As a keen orienteer, he believed yoga was an activity for weedy bendy girls, now he is eager to book another class.
Whether you’re 16 or 60, an athlete or an avid exercise avoider, yoga will benefit you. What I love about it is that nothing is forced and no asana (pose) is unachievable; it’s about listening to your body and adapting positions so that you get the best from your practice.
There are many different styles of yoga so you’re sure to find something you like. Start by asking yourself what you want from the class: relaxation/energy/a good stretch/or a serious challenge?
I am the latter; I want a deep stretch that i’ll be feeling for the rest of the week and a smooth flow of movement (probably due to my dance background).
3.The Teacher Sets the Tone
If the teacher doesn’t inspire you then you probably won’t return. This is not necessarily a reflection on their quality of teaching, simply your preference and what works for you.
It may be a case of trial and error but eventually you’ll find a teacher whose classes are inspiring, encouraging and enlivening.
4.Keep an Open Mind
Yoga requires an open mind. An open mind leads to an open body and soul, meaning you don’t just get more from your practice, but also from life.
Don’t expect to be able to handstand in week but do prepare for a journey of discovery. You’ll become more aware of your body and of your thoughts and how they serve you.
*A word of warning: thus far I have identified 3 types of people that attend yoga.
1.The heavy breathers (she said ‘breathe’, not become Darth Vader)
2.The ones who like you to know they’re really trying *consistently huffs, puffs and blows your house down*
3.The human pretzels *wraps leg around head and appears to be soothed to sleep*
Ommmm that’s it, happy yogaring & namaste 🙏