I’ve been practicing yoga, off and on, for almost 5 years. I started practicing regularly shortly after my knee injury, when I had access to the really cheap classes offered through the Cal Poly rec center (I think it was $49 for unlimited access to ALL fitness classes for the quarter?). I went to about 2 yoga classes a week and loooooved them.
When I couldn’t go to those classes anymore, I turned to podcasts. My favorites were Yoga Download, Yogamazing, and Yoga Today (still highly recommend all of them, if you’re looking for guidance in a home practice). At some point I tried Bikram for a month or so until I realized that Bikram Yoga was too type-A and boring and that Bikram himself is a total ass. I went back to podcasts and tried to squeeze in a 20-25 minute session on most days.
Then, when I started working in the Bay Area, I purchased a Groupon for something like 20 classes over a 6- or 8-week period at a studio near my office. So I was going to 2-3 classes a week. I absolutely fell in love with studio classes and started researching studios in San Diego as I planned my move here. I found one that’s pretty awesome and very reasonably priced (under $100/month for unlimited classes). My practice here hasn’t been as steady as I would’ve liked — I’ll be really good at going at least twice a week for a few months, then fall off for awhile, then get back into a schedule and rhythm. Right now I’m going at least once a week — the problem is the other classes I like and try to go to are on Friday evening/weekends and, well, I haven’t been around most weekends lately (that’s changing soon. For a little while, at least). Last year I even took a 3-week “immersion” session where we learned more about the other limbs of yoga and meditation and the Yoga Sutras and stuff. Complete a yoga teacher training program is on my “Before I Die” list (mainly, once I have the funds and time to commit to it).
All this to say that I should be a reasonably “good” yogi. I don’t mean that in the sense of being super bendy and flexible and able to rock all the really challenging poses (I will forever have runner’s hamstrings, so if I ever make it into anything resembling full splits, it’ll probably mean the apocalypse is imminent). But in the sense of being (mentally) open, accepting, reflective, and all that jazz. I should be able to zone in and focus on my breath during class and find that “edge” between ease and effort in my poses. I should feel okay with “wherever I’m at” in each pose, whether I can go deeper or…less deep…than the last time.
Hahahahahaha. No. Not really.
For one, I hate forward folds. Hate’em. Especially seated forward folds. Paschimottanasana is my nemesis. When the instructor starts prepping us for that, I groan inside. I expect it to be hard, if not impossible. Even with a strap.
I tell myself it’s because of those runner’s hamstrings — when the instructor tells us to keep our backs straight and bend from the pelvis or whatever and not to hunch or round our backs, my torso moves, like four inches, max. I’m basically still sitting upright (and breathing harder than I should to hold that) while pretty much everyone else is completely draped over their legs. DO YOU PEOPLE NOT HAVE MUSCLES IN YOUR LEGS OR LOWER BACK? ARE THEY MADE OF PLAY-DOH?
The thing is, while my hamstrings definitely play a part in making these poses physically difficult, I think my mental block against forward folds is because they’re also supposed to invite introspection (because when you’re in one, you’re literally “looking inward” at yourself). And…I haven’t been a fan of doing that for awhile. And because of that, I’m gonna stop now.
Also, I think that brewery yoga sounds awesome, so apparently I’m helping to completely ruin and bastardize the ENTIRE practice of yoga, which in its Western form is already so far removed from its origins and I should only be seeking enlightenment, not slightly looser hamstrings or one hour of attempting to quiet my mind or better sleep or anything like that.
And yes, I’m totally checking out everyone near me in class and usually feeling envious because they can get deeper into poses or look cuter than me in yoga leggings. Or I’m trying to decipher their tattoos.
Side note to manufacturers of “reasonably-priced” yoga leggings (i.e. NOT lululemon): Please start designing for girls who have muscular thighs and actual asses. I’m not a tiny/petite little thing by any means, but I’m also NOT a size large, which is what I have to get in Onzie or Teeki pants, and they’re still not as comfortable as a pair of $60 pants should be.
That may or may not be a common thought pattern I have in class as I’m trying to adjust my pants. Bad yogi! Bad!