I have not had a yoga class in two months. My last class at BYA was August 19th. I've managed to do the standing series following along to the CD a few times and I've thrown in some yoga poses at random throughout my days. My body is aching like it used to before I met and fell in love with Bikram Yoga. It's mostly my back and my neck that hurt. They have every right to considering that I've broken T4, sprained my neck, and broke my coccyx in the last 13 years. I've also had whiplash, horrible posture, unsupportive mattresses, long bike rides, and I've been using the same pillow for 22 years... My digestion and anxiety have gotten worse since my move, granted I've got a lot of stress and I ran out of enzymes. My muscles have lost tone, making my body change shape, and subsequently none of my jeans fit the same. The tipping point was waking up yesterday with so much back pain that I felt like I couldn't sit up straight. So, I did the only thing I could do. I looked up CorePower Stapleton.
Amazingly enough, they had a free beginners class at 4pm! I had dinner plans with my new lady friend and her friends at 6pm. That would give me just enough time to make myself presentable and hydrated on the drive to their house. I attempted to convince this lady friend to join me but she was in study mode and would have had to have gone home to get clothes and supplies for the class. She'd also had 3 cups of coffee and didn't think that was the best way to start her yoga journey (the one I will inevitably convince her to go on). Luckily, I mentioned it to my friend/landlord and she was all kinds of excited to come with me and she even drove! She's been to CorePower before, so it was nice to have someone to show me the ropes and put me at ease. With that set, I attempted to eat lunch, start my homework, pick out dinner attire, and pack for class.
The Studio and the Teacher
My friend and I walked into the Stapleton studio and listened in as the teacher told the people ahead of us where the locker rooms were and where to put their shoes. She seemed friendly and intelligent and the studio was nicely decorated. I really liked these windows up high that were done like etched glass. Each one had a woman in a different yoga pose. There were, of course, yoga clothes and supplies for sale. I giggled to myself because they sold pants, tank tops, and capris!* When it was our turn to sign in, I filled out a little waver and my contact information and she gave me a key fob. I explained I had never done Vinyasa Yoga before and that I couldn't put much pressure on my right hand because of wrist surgery. She told me what poses to avoid, but because they weren't part of the Bikram Yoga series, I had no idea what she was talking about. We finished the sign in and the new person talk and headed to the locker rooms. There were nice wooden cubby holes, some with doors that you could put a lock on, toilet stalls, sinks, and showers with glass doors. My friend said it looked like it was filling up so she took my mat in for me while I changed and went to the bathroom. When I went to wash my hands my foot landed wrong. I twisted it funny and planted my forearm on the counter edge. Ouch! I shook it off on my way to the yoga room. There were only about ten students, so it wasn't crowded at all. The room was less than half the size of BYA, but I was expecting that, and the floors were wood. There were mirrors on the front and left walls. The back wall had a huge chakra mural of a woman with lots of flowing colors. It conveyed power and beauty. The lights were low and there was music playing (and yes, this bothered me during the whole class, especially when we were supposed to relaxing). It was warm but not nearly as hot as I was used to. I laid down in Savasana and attempted to quell my anxieties and gain some focus.
This was a beginner's class. The teacher explained that there would be a lot more talking than in a normal C1 class and that questions were welcome. We started in Child's Pose which felt nice and relaxing. It gently stretched my hips, chest, arms, ankles, and back. She said that if you didn't want her to physically assist you in a pose to raise your hand. I didn't raise my hand and she promptly came over and pushed my hips down while massaging my trapezius muscles. It felt good and not invasive, which is what I was afraid of. I breathed into the stretch and tried to relax. She explained that Vinyasa was a flowing sequence (as opposed to the static postures I am accustomed to in the Bikram series) and that we would learn each posture and how they flowed then go through it a few times with variations. Vinyasa emphasizes matching your breath with your movements, which we also do in Bikram Yoga. My friend had put me right up next to the teacher so that she could give me modifications without having to yell across the room. She explained the next series of poses as well as an aside to me. I skipped Plank and Chaturanga Poses but put way more pressure than I'm used to on my wrist doing all the Upward and Downward Facing Dogs. Doing the flowing series didn't feel graceful. It felt like I was haphazardly attempting to do a dance I didn't know. It felt rushed, uncontrolled, floppy, and spastic. I would have preferred to have learned the steps and details of each pose, one by one, then worry about flowing them together next time. I enjoyed the core work, though the muscle insertion points on my ribs were immediately sore! There were a few poses that I knew from Bikram, like Camel and Eagle Poses, as well as variations of ones I knew, such as Cobra and Wind Removing Poses. Overall, it was a productive class and I felt relaxed after. When I was leaving, it felt like I could have walked right out of my hips because they were so loose! I would have preferred more spine work, but it was a new experience.
Pros: calming and relaxing, teacher explained a lot, new experience, seriously stretched my hips
Cons: music was annoying, not enough modifications for my wrist, not enough spine strengthening
*BYA only sells shorts and bras because pants are not practical in 105 degrees plus humidity...