Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Warm Up

On Saturday, running buddy Meg and I ran four miles on the lakefront path. While it wasn’t the greatest run for her, it was good for me. It was sunny and the air was crisp. The temperature, while still cold, wasn’t too bad, and it was nice to be outside. Overall, I was happy with my “long run” of the week.

On Sunday, I decided to ditch my usual Zumba class (which is actually now called “Dance Cardio” because the instructor sort of does his own thing) and use my Groupon for Core Power Yoga. They have an hour-and-a-half hot yoga class on Sunday mornings, and I have wanted to get back into a routine with yoga.

I don’t have a long and storied history with yoga. Prior to trying Bikram this past summer, I took various types of yoga classes a handful of times over the last decade. Nothing stuck. In fact, I was mostly disenchanted with the whole “yoga thing.” I never left feel like I got a great workout—a little stretched out yes, but not a workout—nor did I ever feel extremely meditative or at peace or whatever else it is that you’re supposed to feel when you do yoga. Rather, yoga usually just gave me a headache, so I never really understood what the big deal was.

However, as lazy as I can be, I tend to like the idea of extreme fitness (distance running anyone?), and trying hot yoga (or Bikram, depending on how hardcore your studio is) appealed to me. So I tried it. And I liked it. I didn’t fall in love and become a devoted practitioner of Bikram or anything, but this kind of yoga I understood—the sweating is cleansing; I felt incredibly stretched out; and I felt like I was pushing my body in a safe space where I could mess up, fall over, or take a break if I needed one.

Leaving the city meant leaving a lot of familiar things behind, including Bikram Yoga Andersonville where I went on and off through the fall. In the suburbs, things are a bit more spread out and my neighborhood does not cater to trendy fitness businesses, so I researched my options and found Core Power Yoga in a neighboring burb.

Core Power Yoga is a more trendy yoga studio than Bikram Yoga Andersonville. The Andersonville studio is pretty bar bones and pretty serious about the practice. Core Power offers multiple types of classes, including hot yoga classes. On the weekends they have a more traditional Bikram class that is an hour and a half long, but during the week, the hot yoga classes are only an hour.

My Sunday class was pretty traditional. I was glad to find that I basically knew what was going on, and though the instructor used a few names for poses that I didn’t recognize; ultimately, they were all the same poses.

The Core Power studio was either a few degrees cooler or less humid than other Bikram classes I’ve taken because it’s the first time I have made it through an entire class without feeling sick or dizzy or having to sit down. At Andersonville, they emphasized stillness between poses, but here, she encouraged us to shake out our legs or arms after a pose if we needed to. While I still felt like I got a serious yoga class in, I liked that it was a bit more relaxed about the stillness thing… or maybe I’m just not a good yogi. But my favorite part of class was at the end (of course) during final savasana when the instructor came around with cool, wet washcloths, which she pressed into our foreheads (you could opt out of this if you didn’t want your space to be invaded). It sounds like a small thing, but after an hour and a half of sweaty yoga, it was way more awesome than I was expecting. And, I noticed that it cooled my body down in a way that I hadn’t experienced before, and I left feeling refreshed and ready to get on with the day—not sick at all!

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. In fact, without expecting it, I think I may have found a better yoga studio match for me and I’m looking forward to trying out some of their other classes. My Groupon gives me five weeks of unlimited yoga, so I’m going to take advantage and get to know some other types of yoga during this time as well.

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