How I started
I started yoga for the first time last August. Seven months in and I absolutely love it. My gym membership is redundant as a result and in February I was at classes 3-4 times a week.
Like all good cynics of Yoga I always had the view that it was unachievable, too sedentary and full of overly pretentious people who love to give fake hugs and ‘namaste’ every one they see. I was really wrong about this; not for the first time in life! So being in the ‘lets try everything’ frame of mind I took a class at my gym. A bit of time out from the never-ending deadlifts, squats and (the ones I really hate) burpees. I liked it. The instructor was doing free classes as she was pretty new to teaching. But first class in and done I felt pretty relaxed. The next morning my muscles ached. First realisation of yoga, it isn’t as easy and ineffective as I thought. It can be expensive though and my free classes at the budget gym weren’t going to cut it if I wanted to give it a go. Aims – strength (obviously in this day and age) but also flexibility.
Luckily a new studio opened up in Edinburgh and I signed on immediately. The studio you go to is important. This one was perfect. A place that didn’t have an inexplicable list of classes that I wouldn’t understand. Easy explanations of what the types involved, and more importantly, taglines telling me all levels welcome and intensity of each type.
Which class to pick?
I started with Hatha. The slow pace has really allowed me to understand what the poses are, how to build on flows and it also meant my teacher was able to take time to teach me. The class was mixed. Yes there were the tall, skinny typical yogi type. But no one was pretentious. First myth debunked! Secondly I could do most of it without falling over and the strength Ive built up with weights really helped in things like high lunges and planks. I never imagined I would be able to do it. Hatha is great. Its not as easy as I thought it would be and sometimes I wake up with the same DOMS as a leg day in the gym produces but that just makes me more hooked.
I tried Yin. Wow, just wow. There is an edge to the long held stretches. But doing it by candlelight in an Edinburgh studio in winter is just the most relaxing experience. I literally float away from every yin class.
The vinyasa classes. These vary so much depending on the teacher in terms of strength, fluidity. But they all have one thing in common – a class that moves you through an hour of poses which help you develop and make you feel great. I don’t think I could touch my toes at the start of my yoga ‘yourney’ (yes using the lingo now!). Now I can and feel comfortable enough with the other yogis (non-pretentious bunch that they are) to know that my practice is my own and my flexibility is getting better at better. My muscles are even developing (shoulders and back especially!).
I say pick them all and enjoy the variety this brings. There is something for everyone.
Biggest achievement in yoga
Crow! I know it is probably the easiest of the arm balance poses, but for me it is the most impressive thing I have done. There is something about balancing with a somewhat wobbly appearance when you know last week you were face planting the floor.
So today I’m off to my Hatha class. I can’t wait and yes I will bow namaste and be grateful for my practice when its done. I am a yoga person. I like yoga people. I am basically a new me 🙂