Saturday, February 19, 2011

what I've learned from studio yoga

I don't know whether I've really blogged much about my first experiences with studio yoga this year, but I just wrapped up a six-week series today that was titled "Yoga for Back Health."

In case you didn't know, I've had chronic back pain most of my adult life, and started seeing a chiropractor in 2007 to help. After a lengthy "healing" process with the chiro, some flare-ups here and there, and a smattering of yoga done at home to try and keep things loose and aligned, I'm feeling like I'm at a point where I'm pretty much pain-free most days. Weather changes, stress, and doing silly things like carrying three loads of laundry up and down the back stairs at once will cause stiffness and soreness, but overall, I'm feeling pretty good!

SO . . . after that lengthy ramble . . . now you know why I was ready to try a yoga class that focused entirely on keeping my back healthy, strong, and flexible. This also happened to be my first ever studio yoga experience, and it was SUCH a positive one! Let me first wax poetic about the studio I chose . . .

I have been attending One Yoga, a nonprofit yoga studio on 26th and Lyndale. (They used to be located across the street from the Wedge, for you locals that might have seen the studio signs before.) What do I love about this organization?
~ Both studios are gorgeous, calming, and cheerful. I'm partial to the "sky studio," but I think that's just because it gets better light. And I like the color blue.
~ They have complimentary tea available at all times.
~ They are incredibly environmentally-responsible, including having low-flush toilets! (Seriously, they have two buttons on the top, and less water is used for just pee.)
~ The organization offers a sliding fee scale to its students, based on income.
~ Teachers do outreach into the community, including providing free yoga classes for staff and clients of other local nonprofits, and offering free yoga classes for prisoners.
~ Students can sign up to volunteer in exchange for free yoga classes!
~ Mats and props are available to borrow during class, so students don't have to lug around their own equipment (unless they want to.)

After wrapping up this first session, and being several classes into the philosophy class I also signed up for, (we're reading the Bhagavad Gita -- in English, thankfully!), I've learned quite a bit about myself already!
~ If I sign up and pay for yoga in advance, I go! I'm not so good about doing yoga at home, (I always seem to be too tired and/or have excuses in other things I could be doing,) but somehow, having to leave the house to go do yoga is easier! Who knew?
~ I have EXTREMELY tight hamstrings. Like, freakishly tight. This is common in people with back problems, I guess.
~ My torso is slightly longer than my legs. This is really odd to me, since I always thought it was the other way around!
~ I have super-weak arms. Like, floppy-wet-spaghetti-weak. Bianca, my back health teacher, taught me dolphin pose today, which will help me strengthen my arms. I am also supposed to do lots of downward facing dog.
~ My core is stronger than I thought.
~ My general walking/standing posture isn't as bad as I thought, although it could still use some work. :)
~ I am surprised in my level of openness when it comes to meditation. I had an exciting experience in yoga nidra a couple of weeks ago -- I felt like energy was pulsing out from a circle in the middle of my forehead! Neat.
~ Despite being very open to meditation, silly things pop into my head sometimes; for example, "wouldn't it be funny if the fire alarm went off right now?" Good gracious!

So, to put a long story short, let's just say . . . I'll be BACK! I'm considering purchasing a monthly pass and frequenting a couple drop-in classes starting in March, to see how that goes.

Have you done any studio yoga? What have your opininons/experiences been?


Ali said...

SO GLAD you liked studio yoga! And my good friends Angela and Ben are instructors at One Yoga! I'll let them know you had a good experience :)

After a few years of tentatively dipping my toes in the yoga pool through community ed classes (MUCH cheaper!), I was ready for a higher level and finally bought a package at Sigh Yoga at 56th and Lyndale and I couldn't be happier! Most of their classes are heated, which made me nervous at first but now I can't imagine doing yoga in a cold room.

I've become a total yoga convert, and I think it makes everything better (mental, spiritual, and physical health)!

Emily said...

I have been a member at Core Power for almost a year now. It is really expensive, but SO worth it to me.
I also find that I practice so much more than when I was practicing at home, going to a class means I can't quit after 30 minutes!

Crystal said...

I've always preferred studio yoga. I really hate doing yoga at home because it has to be on carpet and I feel I'm usually too busy trying to not fall over and can't focus on my form.

I just started at CorePower Yoga and I'm really enjoying it.