Sunday, January 27, 2013

In Which I Attend Yoga

Back in 2011, I attended Lululemon Grant Street's Thursday Night "Roga" a few times, wherein you'd meet up with some folks & run 3, 4.5 or 6 miles depending on your desire, then come back to the store for an hour of free yoga from a local instructor. That was my first experience with yoga, and skeptical as I was going in, one session had me completely sold on the benefits of pairing it with running. So much so that when I wasn't able to go anymore, I spent months trying to finagle some way of marshaling my temporal and financial resources so as to be able to get back to it at least occasionally.

So I've been SUPER excited to start going to some classes at my new office-gym, and Thursday evening I made it to my first class. Friends, I present to you Random Thoughts About Yoga, in No Particular Order.

  • If you are new to / out of practice at yoga, get there early for a spot in the back so you can follow what everyone else is doing. You never know when the instructor will abandon you to walk around & correct people.

  • Pay attention in case other people are all getting weird props that you don't have. Even if you don't know what they are for, it is just better to have them than not. Assume that all will be made clear in time. NB: This is true in most types of exercise. (ESPECIALLY running.*)


    (Also, it was kind of funny to learn that they actually are called "props" officially, I can only assume because you literally use them to prop yourself up in certain poses.)

  • I know you're not supposed to think about what you're "good at" & "bad at" in yoga, but two things: 1) You don't do 11 years of martial arts without learning to breathe like a champ, and 2) If it's an ab move, I am the winner, hands down. I can sit in boat for days. For DAYS, son. This concludes the list of yoga things that I am good at.

  • I love how every yoga instructor I've ever had has always been like, "So now we're going to do [whatever pose]. [Meticulous discussion of pose]. Unless you don't want to. Which is totally cool. You do what you do." This instructor was particularly fond of the phrase, "You're doing healthy things for yourself just as you are."

  • It's cool that people feel empowered to not do whatever it is the instructor is saying, but it does make it really, REALLY hard to figure out what the, um, most strongly suggested (?) movements are if you have trouble keeping up with & processing the verbal descriptions (I do) and/or are not super familiar with the short-hand (I am not).

  • I really just could not help snickering to myself like a middle schooler any time he talked about loving yourself. Seriously, how do adults say stuff like that with a straight face? The first time I totally thought he was being ironic & then I remembered I was at yoga. I kept wondering if I was the only one thinking about this. (Also if I was the only one wondering about the subject of farting. I mean this guy was just getting all up behind people adjusting their poses, and I couldn't help thinking that what with all the crazy inhaling & exhaling sooner or later this was going to go very badly for him.)

  • If you end up behind that one SUPER good yoga girl that there's inevitably one of in any given class, you win, because you can just do whatever she's doing (if you can) and no one can complain.

  • It's incredibly difficult to get that 'no-mind' thing going on when the music keeps taking you back to an episode of Battlestar Galactica.

But seriously. I love yoga. I love yoga paired with running. I can't really get behind all the spiritual/self-love talk, but what I can tell you is that Thursday was the first time in a long time when I have come home after a run not feeling like a train wreck, which was exactly what I remembered & was hoping for again. Even my feet feel better.

So a couple of questions for the yogis in the room -

What do all the different types of yoga mean? I realize I could just google this, but I'm lazy. I know I don't want the bikram one, but I've been to classes described as "vinyasa," "hatha," & "flow," & as far as I can tell they are all the same. Am I missing something?

Seriously - What is the deal with farting in yoga? Surely this must happen. Does it totally kill the mood? Is there some sort of rosary you say to absolve yourself afterward?


  1. I have never been to yoga class...but maybe it is pass gas, not judgement :-)

  2. I know that yoga is good for me, but I just can't get into it. I don't know what all of the different types of yoga mean either. Yoga language really confuses me. I guess that it is probably good that I don't go. :-)

  3. I think vinyasa and flow are the same, and hatha is a form of flow yoga? The only other kind I know for sure about is bikram, which is the hot yoga.

    I can't get into the spiritual talk either. I used to go to a really great studio in North Berkeley, but they would make you sing/chant at the end. I was OK with singing "Om", but I hated singing the prayers or whatever it was. It made me feel like I was at church...when I all wanted was to do some yoga.

  4. Yoga! I'm a fan for sure. Pretty much the only yoga I do is vinyasa - or flow yoga like Jen talks about above. Mainly consists of lots of poses in patterns, and eventually you start to memorize the patterns lol. I like yoga that moves fast though, since then you feel like you get a good workout. I got to try Roga sometime!

    And yea, Melbourne is pretty fantastic - I like it as much or better than Sydney I'd say. Very underrated on the Australia visit scale, seems like all Americans hear about is how awesome Sydney is. I realized that you can get almost the same things in Melbourne - and if you are obsessed with sports, Melbourne is your place to be lol.