How do you Yoga?
Usually the first thing I do when I enter the yoga studio/practice room/sanctuary (what-have-you) is lay down my mat and my towel and place my water bottle nearby. Then I sit myself down and take a look around the room to see what everyone else is up to. When I first started taking yoga I had no idea what you were really supposed to do. I didn't read up on it or research any moves. (Now there's a whole site for beginners, see here). I'm sure most people do what I did and just say, "Hey, I think I'll try that yoga thing people keep talking about."
Really, I learned about yoga when I was thirteen or so while visiting my aunt in South Jersey. My other aunt's boyfriend taught Tai Chi and Yoga at the Twelfth Street Gym in Philly. That was an interesting place. My aunt's boyfriend was named Chik and he was from Istanbul. I only remember seeing him with a shirt on a few times; his typical attire was baggy yoga pants, sandals and his ponytail. To me, as a thirteen year-old, he screamed YOGA. I think he still teaches at that gym...
Nostalgia aside, I've always done yoga here and there, mostly at home with my DVDs. I started practicing in studios about five years ago off and on, but really committed to doing yoga at a studio at least once a week last summer. It's been very good for me, especially since my job keeps me in a seated position typing on the computer most days. Those hip flexors are thanking me for my commitment to yoga.
Thanks to a good friend and a nearby yoga studio, I'm getting into my yoga groove.
Back to the whole preparation for class thing...How do you prepare? Like I said, I'm pretty easy. I don't need complete silence or complete darkness, nor do I have a ritual before class. I look around before my classes and see people laying in savasana or in child's pose. Others are lying on their stomachs or sitting cross-legged on their mats with their wrists resting on their knees, thumb and pointer fingers barely touching. Now that is a yoga preparation pose! I still feel like a novice, despite my knowledge of most positions or asanas. I couldn't have told you what a frog pose was until today, as I am constantly learning things, but I could still do a basic sun salutation and do a darn good downward dog. I just find all the little idiosyncrasies people have fascinating. I'm sure I could do a study on yoga behavior...men vs. women, hot yoga vs. room temp, mirrors vs. no mirrors, the possibilities are endless!
As for the 30-day Yoga Challenge:
Day 3: Vinyasa 1. Despite having skied yesterday for the first time in eight years, I am not sore today. I believe that's because of all the darn chair poses I've been doing and the umpteen million we did last night during the Candlelight Yoga. This morning's class was awesome. I must say, Charity is a great teacher and her music rocks! Last night our instructor said something that made me think; she said that those of us who are doing the 30-day challenge will have a great first two weeks, then we may hit a wall. I'm hoping that doesn't happen. I am hoping my goals for this challenge will push me through to the end. By the end of these 30 days I want a stronger core, greater flexibility and greater peace. Hey, no laughing, everyone needs goals, right?
I am looking forward to my fourth class, perhaps my favorite class: Surf Flow, Vinyasa 2...
Stay tuned for more yoga!