I cried in yoga class on Monday night

It’s true, I cried in the middle of my yoga class on Monday night! I have heard that this happens sometimes. Our body physically holds emotions and they can come pouring out when we’ve released those particular muscles. Well, half-way through class we rested in child’s pose and the tears began to flow. Luckily we were just about to start a floor sequence where we were on our stomachs for a while – just long enough to take a few breaths and wipe my eyes.

I’m not exactly sure what the tears were about, but I must have been holding on to some emotions unwittingly. I do have some suspects: the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s death, possible changes at work that have left me anxious, and relief that my husband got a new job that he is really excited about after nine long months of searching all come to mind. I’ve been experiencing little moments of anxiety lately as well.

I’m wondering if some of it has to do with my lack of consistent yoga practice these past few weeks. I’ve been hooked on barre and Pilates classes lately. My favorite teacher no longer teaches on Wednesday nights and I’m not so crazy about her replacement. I really like the teacher on Monday nights, but it’s tough getting there in time for a 6:00 class, so my yoga practice has been sporadic. I’ll be enjoying a “staycation” for most of July and I plan on getting my yoga groove back. We’ll see if that helps curb some of this anxiety that’s been building lately. It had been such a long time since I experience any episodes. I hope I can find my way back to that peace quickly!

For the Love of Yoga

It’s been about six weeks since R and I joined our yoga studio and we are pretty much obsessed. I’ve been going five days a week: 2 pilates, 1 vinyasa class, 1 hot yoga class, and 1 yin and restore class. I’ve also added a 30-45 minute walking routine three days a week to make sure I get some cardio in. I was afraid that I would stop losing weight since I’m no longer doing Zumba (had to put my NYSC membership on hold in order to afford the yoga membership). Happily, I’ve discovered I was wrong. I’m down another six pounds!

I thought I’d break down the different types of classes to help anyone who might be interested in trying one out.

Pilates (at least the beginners class) involves all mat work, most of it lying on your back, focusing on working ¬†your core. The moves are not complicated, but they can be intense. Most classes also involve some planks, possibly push-ups, and leg work. I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my core strength and posture.

Vinyasa yoga involves moving from one pose to the next at a fairly rapid pace. This class has a lot of sun salutations built into it. Personally, it’s my favorite class of the bunch. I love the rhythm of the sequences and the various challenges each pose presents. We’ve been working on the beginning steps for a crow pose and I actually managed to get the first few steps down after a few classes! Seeing myself improve in even small ways makes me excited to go back for more.

Hot yoga is insane. I honestly dread going each week and then can’t stop talking about how great it was and how much I loved it afterwards. Last night I actually made it through the entire class for the first time! This class involves 26 poses that you hold for a certain amount of time while sweating like crazy in a 105 (F) degree room for 90 minutes. This class definitely challenges you mentally as well as physically.

Yin and restore is a great way to end the work week. Yin yoga is a cooling yoga that involves only floor poses in a cool room. Rather than working your muscles, you focus on deep poses which benefit the connective tissue and joints. This class has taught me some great stretches for my hip flexors and piriformis muscles. Each pose is held for 5 minutes or longer. It’s another class that can be intense and challenging, but I always leave feeling super relaxed and re-invigorated.

Aside from the physical benefits of gaining strength, becoming more flexible, and losing weight, I’ve definitely noticed more emotional/mental benefits as well. I’m more patient with myself and others. I’m not as quick to react to stressful situations. My quality of sleep has improved, and I’m just generally happier and more peaceful on a daily basis. R has noticed similar benefits as well.

I would strongly encourage anyone who is thinking of trying yoga to do so. It might take trying out a few different styles and teachers to figure out which is best for you. For example, R doesn’t like vinyasa at all even after trying a few teachers so I go to that one alone. Just make sure you tell the teacher that you are new before the class starts. He or she should be able to give you tips and modifications for any pose that is challenging for you. The most important thing to remember is that your practice isn’t about anyone else but you and what you can do in that moment. It’s not a competition. It’s just you doing something great for your body, mind, and spirit.