I FINALLY Found a Local Yoga Class That Actually SPEAKS to Me!

fundamental-vinyasa-picI am sure that I’m not alone in confessing that I used to find the thought of Yoga to be really boring and useless.  The occasional class I would try left me eager to leave the room and find a nice Malbec, or hop on a treadmill to work out the frustration that I thought Yoga was supposed to take care of.  Perhaps the yoga teacher just didn’t teach well.  No checking and correcting alignment, assisting in stretches where needed and adjusting posture here and there.  None of it.  Maybe a glance over to say “Chest Up” and then proceed on.  Just letting me sink and fall all the while they were speaking too much!  Seriously way too much talking.  Talking and teaching, teaching and talking,-almost like a monologue!  The last 5 or 10 minutes of class were always the worst of it because it just got more and more boring from listening to an instructor prattle on and on-and try to get me to meditate or picture trees in the weirdest times during the class.  ugh.  I mean, seriously each of the few classes I ever tried involved a whole lot of the yoga teacher talking about whispery clouds or rustling leaves or letting your mind go.  And after annoying the hell out of me with talking too much hokey pokey they expected me to lay there for 5 or 10 minutes at the end of it and actually meditate?  While still talking about picturing leaves and clouds?  REALLY?  C’mon.   So I turned to yoga videos.  I tried a couple versions of Beachbody Yoga dvd’s, Gaia TV, and other on demand videos of beginner and intermediate levels trying to find the right one for me.  That sucked too-someone having a one way conversation with me from my TV screen was not correcting my alignment, fixing my poses or keeping me honest in my poses not to mention it got soooo boring!  So I just told myself that Yoga must not be for me.  For a long time that’s what I said.  And then late last year I took up jogging.  And guess what-my calves started to feel tight.  And I took up Crossfit and guess what else started to feel tight-my hips and shoulders.  Then, not only did my calves feel tight-they were sore, particularly my right gastrocnemius!  Also starting to hurt was my right heel.  And, I jogged more because once you start drinking the running juice it’s tough to give it up.  I did not stretch much-didn’t really take the time.  Then one morning, when I stepped out of bed and onto my own two feet-I could barely walk from the pain shooting up from my heel and into my ankles and calves.  I had a case of plantar fasciitis and it hurt like a son of a bitch.  Shortly after I developed that nasty little running injury (which I ignored and kept on jogging) my professor covered the foot and ankle in my Prevention of Athletic Injuries class.  Plantar Fasciitis was obviously covered as a common injury-along with ways to prevent it and warning signs.  And guess what is a warning sign?  Sore gastrocs, tight calves.  Guess what could have prevented it?  Stretching.  So guess what could have prevented my running injury that has taken months to heal and even now occasionally flares up?  YOGA.  Additionally, all of my Crossfit workouts were getting uncomfortable-(like they are ever actually COMFY) and it was because my mobility pretty much sucked.  So I went back on the hunt for a Yoga class I liked.  Tried a couple of gyms and the Yoga class my Crossfit box offered.  I definitely didn’t like what I found at the local gyms.  More of the same yapping.  The yoga class at my Crossfit box was ok-the instructor did attempt to correct me but didn’t physically come over and fix my alignment which is what I really, really needed.  She also talked a bit too much so it was in the end only a small improvement over what I had experienced at the other gyms but still not really what I was looking for.
My friend Kara, who is also my jogging buddy takes a Taekwondo class in Clinton, NJ.  Right there at the location is a Yoga studio called Backbone Yoga and they offer a flexibility class.  She described it as truly a flexibility class that uses some Yoga poses but is not actually a Yoga practice and said it’s be great to go get a good stretch!  So I went with her.  MAN.  It was something else.  Chris, the instructor, started out in CROW.  Ybakasana-sideep, Crow.  I hadn’t ever gone upside down in my whole life and therefore HSPU’s are one of my weaknesses at Crossfit!  Well, I tried Crow anyway.  This particular class was  crowded-it was popular. but Chris STILL managed to come over and help me out.  Was I able to do Crow?  No-I’m working on my forearm and shoulder and triceps strength but he set me up properly.  Another position during the class was a lunge and working yourself towards a split.  My body made more of an upside down V shape rather than a split but he came over and adjusted me and applied a little pressure to the back of my hips, allowing me to get an additional 2-3 inches closer to the ground!  It hurt SO GOOD!  Also worked on in that class were wheels.  Being relatively new to fitness, I had just flat out not done many back bends in my life so wheels were obviously another challenge.  And he came over, adjusted me, gave me an assist and BAM I was soooo much closer to doing a wheel on my own!  Well, I walked out of that class not knowing what hit me and feeling like a rubber band and DETERMINED to find my way back again.  I had an intuition that if his flexibility class is THAT awesome his Yoga class would probably be tolerable.  Checking out his schedule my interest was REALLY piqued because it was filled with HOT VINYASA classes.  I didn’t know what Vinyasa meant-but he had me at hot.  I tried his flexibility class again about a month later.  It was just as challenging and wonderful as the other one-so I was satisfied that he was consistent.
Finally, I made attending a Yoga class a priority and selected a Tuesday night Hot Vinyasa Yoga class.  And he had a substitute the first night I went.  FML.  But I was stiff as hell like Tinman and NEEDED it.  Morgan was nice.  She did come over and initially check my alignment.  She did correct me once or twice, but did not physically adjust me in the same manner Chris did but hey-I gave her a break.  Even as a substitute she came over to help me out and had an air of genuineness about her that I appreciated.  I still struggled.  She corrected me a couple of times; not nearly as much as I needed but I’m a full time job for a Yoga instructor and I know it!    Anywho.  This Hot Vinyasa class was VERY different from the Flexibility class.  For the first time in my life I actually feel like I practiced Yoga-and recognized it as a practice.   Two weeks later I attended again on the Tuesday night and again the next week.  It was a good sign to me that I saw a couple of Rusty’s wrestbird_of_preyling coaches in the class by the way.  If they like it-it’s gotta be good stuff!  But pretty soon I forgot who was there because all I cared about was how my body was screaming at me to get it together and chill out in these poses!  Man.  What an experience and oh my god it’s so effing GOOD!  I really love walking out of a class feeling like I was going to die at least once. Half the time I thought I was going to die.  This was new-I had NEVER in any of the handful of Yoga classes I’d attended EVER felt like my entire body was actually getting a workout!  (except for my sister in law’s private class she gave me, I was actually sore afterwards)  Chris knows how to practice the Vinyasa flow, man!  And-he doesn’t take himself too seriously and therefore visibly enjoys the instruction and has fun with the transitions between poses and the poses themselves-and it allows us, (well me) to laugh at myself when I fall over because I can’t stop shaking during tree pose or when I fall on my face out of crow!  By the way Up Dog and Cobra are harder than they look if you are doing them properly!  And just when I thought that repeated Down Dog’s to Cobra or Up Dog were the hardest thing I’d have to get through, I took a Thursday night class. So by the way-the previous classes I’d taken were called “Hot Vinyasa Basic”.  This class was just called “Hot Vinyasa”.  Oh boy I should have known I was getting into something tricky.  I NEVER EVER IN MY LIFE THOUGHT I’D BE RELIEVED TO GET INTO A DOWN DOG POSITION!  Sweet Jesus did down dog feel super after attempting Nakrasana, also called “Crocodile”.  Down dog felt like a slice of heaven after trying Bakasana, also known as “Baby Crow” and “Crow”.  By the way baby crow is NOT babyish.  It is effing HARD!!!  And down dog felt like a vacation after attempting a Bird of Prey position-which is a balancing pose when you’ve wrapped yourself up as some sort of pretzel.
Last night, I WENT BACK FOR MORE OF IT!  Basic that is.  (think I’ll let the advanced class have their fun for now)  I took my Stepson Brinton with me.  I KNEW that this was the perfect first yoga class for him, him being a wrestler and all.  He had a blast.  Said he wants to go back!  Anywho I’m hooked!   Just like Crossfit, I have an endless number of goals and it’s sure as hell helping my mobility for my workouts.  So I’m realizing-that without Yoga my running performance will stink and I’m already slow as it is!  Without Yoga my Crossfit performance will stink-and I’m still a newbie as it is.  I like Chris’ thinking on it:  “Your body is a house with rooms.  Sometimes it needs clean up, and sometimes you need to clean up those rooms you don’t go in very often.  And when you do, those rooms are way more pleasant to be in then if you hadn’t cleaned them.”  He put it way better than I did-but the drift is clear, right?

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