A Hot, Sweaty, Stinky Mess: Or How Power Yoga Saved My Summer

9 Aug

I was afraid—very afraid—of my first Vinyasa (or “flow”) yoga class I took earlier this summer.  Exercising in a 95-degree room with a bunch of women who could easily headline a Cirque du Soleil production made me woozy…and that was from my car!

But one of my goals for the summer was to increase my flexibility, and I knew doing a few stretches at home wasn’t cutting it.  So I bought a pass for 10 classes at Velociti Fitness League, squeezed into my tightest Lycra top and landed on my mat, as my instructor Beth would say.

The class was packed with chicks sporting Madonna arms and washboard abs.  No chitchat before we got down to business, which suits me fine.  (I tend to get very quiet in new or scary situations, and this qualified as both!)

Beth Culler, who owns Velociti, is that rare kind of teacher who can challenge her top students and help her strugglers (i.e. me) modify the moves with a block. She is equal parts Zen goddess, cheerleader and therapist—and she knows her stuff.  The last regular exercise classes I’d taken were a yoga/Pilates hybrid where the teacher did the moves on a mat at the front of class.  Beth, on the other hand, wanders around the room, guiding her students through the sequences and correcting poses.  If that sounds worrisome, it’s not.  She meets you where you are in order to lead you forward.

I’m sure I’ve never sweated so much as I have during these classes.  I learned what I like—squats, chair pose, warrior, tree—and what I aspire to conquer (crow, pigeon, wheel, a headstand would be fun).  I appreciate the emphasis on breathing and the essential nature of connecting your breath to your poses.  I love that my mind focuses entirely on the present moment when I’m pushing so hard.  I also really appreciate the fact that power yoga is the first thing I’ve done in a long time that I’m not good at but still really like.

I intend to keep going to 2-3 classes a week this fall. Who knows? By Thanksgiving, I might just have a pretty decent standing split by then!



4 Responses to “A Hot, Sweaty, Stinky Mess: Or How Power Yoga Saved My Summer”

  1. Jools August 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    About to try my first Vinyasa class, too. The donation-based classes here have a couple — warm, not warm, slow, fast…you’ve kind of scared me!!! But I know if I can get through it, I will be super proud of myself.

  2. Lori August 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    I’m so glad you had such a positive experience! Beth is a GREAT yogi!

  3. Jen August 13, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    I’ll never go back to “cold” yoga!

  4. Lori August 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    Jools, what did you think of your class?

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