Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Getting back to Ashtanga Yoga

Way back when, in 2010, as a young (innocent?) undergraduate co-op student. Newly moved to Calgary. I wandered into my first ever yoga class with a friend of mine.

It was at Hot Yoga on 17th... and needless to say it was Hot.

Jen, over at nutcaseinpoint did a great summary post on hot yoga (complete with Gifs) about a year back that left me lol'ing. Enough so that I remembered that specific post just now when I thought to myself, how to describe what hot yoga feels like.

For me, however, that first hot yoga class was sufficient to be my last. As a hadn't drank any of the Yogi Cool Aid yet, I just couldn't see the appeal of sweating that profusely, in a packed (I mean packed, mat touch mat in all directions, be careful when you forward fold, you might just put your face in someone's ass packed!) studio. Unable to really get into the poses because my hands kept slipping. I walked away feeling melted without feeling triumphant... and there was certainly nothing calming about the experience.

This kitty pretty much sums up how I felt that day.

So I tried yoga the one time... it was horrible, and I didn't feel the need to go back.

Until... A studio near my lab was offering something like 3 months unlimited for new student for something like $150, which was just too good a deal to pass up. Plus it was summer, and I could walk there after work with my mat, and get my stretch on.

This was Calgary's Yoga Shala, a traditional Ashtanga yoga studio. And from my first class there I was hooked. The style was vigorous enough to be challenging, but also gave me the mental and emotional detox I'd been craving. At the end of a 90min class, I could completely relax in my shavasana's. I practiced about twice a week through the end of the summer and into fall. Saying goodbye to the shala and to Calgary when I moved back to Ontario in December.

Since then, although I still love the idea of yoga, reading a few yoga blogs, picking up copies of Yoga Journal now and then, and sporadically attending classes of a variety of styles and at a number of studies; I just haven't been able to really 'get back into' yoga.

The reason? Well I'm most likely to blame how busy my life has been the past couple years... with travelling, grad school, tutoring and TAing and extra curriculars, and classes, and running....and.... and....and.

The irony? Having a consistent yoga practice amid all that chaos would probably be the best thing for me.

So tonight I'm going back to the Shala, for a beginner Ashtanga class. I thought about doing the Level 1-2, but when I did the primary series at home this weekend I could barely touch my toes... so I thought better of it.

And amid all of the other chaos and commitments in my life, for now I'm going to commit to yoga. 1 class a week, and home practice at least once more.

Because maybe someday I'd like to go to an Ashram in India or Bali or somewhere for a yoga retreat, or maybe teacher training. Lord knows I've googled it more times than I can count in the past year or so. But before you can run you need to walk.

Do you practice yoga? What style?

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