Earlier today, I went to a free yoga workshop taught by Lara at the on-post gym ( I live on a military post). There’s a wide array of yoga styles. Lara focuses on vinyasa yoga or flow yoga. It means that your movements are synchronized with your breathing. You inhale for one asana, or pose, and you exhale on the next. Over the course of the two-hour workshop, Lara led us through a wide range of poses, from seated poses and twists to standing poses to my favorite, restorative poses. She also threw in some inversions and backbends for the more advanced people in the class (not me).
Lara’s a fantastic teacher. She’s super friendly, informative, and plays great music for the class such as Zero 7 and Paul Simon. There’s a phrase that Lara likes to say a lot in class and that’s “Go to your edge.” She reminds us that we’re all from different abilities and that yoga is about what you can do and what you want to do. I find that they don’t always match, but that’s what keeps me interested in yoga. For instance, I would like to try a handstand one day. But I can barely place my knees on my upper arms for crow pose!
The sequence that I love is the sun salutation sequence that Lara leads us in. Within the sun salutation, there is a trio of plank, upward facing dog, and downward facing dog which really challenges me. They require a balance of core and upper body strength and lower body flexibility that appears easy until you have to hold the pose for five breaths. My hands get sweaty so I end up sliding down the mat and I have to worm my way back into position. I can’t get my heels all the way down to the mat in downward dog yet (those tight hamstrings and calves) but with each sun salutation I feel like I get closer. When I first started yoga, sun salutation couldn’t be done quick enough. But as I practice more, I get more flexible and can hold downward dog longer.
At the end of the workshop, Lara put us in restorative poses where we brought our focus from our bodies to our minds. We laid flat on our mats in corpse pose, which is more restful than morbid. We closed our eyes while calming music played in the background and I focused on
my to do list, weekly meal plan my breathing as well as relished the naplike environment. Moving out of corpse pose, we sat cross-legged comfortably and then placed our hands in prayer position and upon our third eye and then blessed each other with “Namaste” meaning I bow to you.
Yoga is important to me because it’s on the opposite spectrum from running which I need physically and mentally. It’s important to balance contraction with elongation and the benefits of increased strength and flexibility as well as muscle toning are great reasons to include yoga in your fitness program. As for me, there are no more yoga classes until February, so I’m going to check out Yoga Journal for help creating my own home practice.
Yoga Journal: Sequence Builder
Online Yoga Classes ($): Yogaglo
Online Yoga Class (free): MyFreeYoga
Do you yoga? What’s your instructor/class like?