What a Poser - My Yoga Challenge - Week 3
Some important disclaimers up at the top here
(1) I'm able to do so much yoga/exercise because I'm unemployed right now. I don't want to be. I want to be heading to work every morning at a job that uses my skills + fills my heart. I'm lucky, lucky, lucky that I am in a position to wait for a position- but I'm also feeling pretty down about it. I am looking for work, but I want it to be a job that fulfills me + I'm fussy! It's just a long process so yoga is helping me make the best out of this situation I would rather not be in.
(2) I don't think I will actually (// I actually know I won't/I guess at this point I didn't) achieve my 20 classes in 30 days goal. But I'm going to get really close, well, close, and the amount of strength + flexibility I have gained by trying has been very inspiring to me. The peaceful mind thing is still up for debate. But I totally caught myself watching TV in lotus pose last night. So, I think this is starting to become part of my life.
I have lots of really good excuses about (2). Like it snowing and going away for the weekend, and getting overwhelmed with point (1) (i.e. job hunting is really time consuming) and class 14. CLASS. 14.
(3) I'm not a yogi.
(4) Take what I say with a grain of "oh no she's into things like Lion's Breath now" salt. Especially when in this post I start to talk about soul canoes + banasana + class 14.
Disclaimer (4) (a) I find it equal parts embarassing + empowering that I like these things.
Ok with those out of the way-
CLASS 11 - VINYASA (WITH SJANIE MCINNIS AT ONE YOGA FOR THE PEOPLE!)
Sjanie gets my second ""If you live in Vancouver and take yoga you should take one of her classes" rating with a "but you should probably not try her class if you haven't done yoga before or in a while" caveat.
Vinyasa means you move with the flow of your breath, so every in breath is one pose and every out breath is another pose. They are related and flow nicely together. Hatha classes do the same types of poses but often take several breaths in one pose so the movements are slower.
A few years ago, one of my besties invited me to her favourite class (this one) after I hadn't done yoga in 3 years, stating that "it's just go at your own pace, it's all cool." and yeah, I guess it's all cool but THIS CLASS IS VERY HARD. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I fell in love with this class was because it's so hard it's all I can do to stay alive, and there is simply no time to get wrapped up into my head. This is specifically the class that every time I nailed a pose it got harder- "oh NBD just pick your foot up over your ear" but actually. ACTUALLY. People put their feet over their ears. WTF people. How is that a thing?
But because I went when I hadn't been in 3 years and people were standing on their heads and twisting into carnival contortions + not noticing me at all I gained some yoga confidence. Yoga is practiced on your own mat + it's supposed to open your heart. So if you're doing it right you're not concerned with the fact that you are totally pwning the newb, so the newb is free + clear to take child's pose + a tea break + gain their confidence to the point where they (me) can go to classes + figure if someone is judging them (me) they are actually not as good at yoga as they look.
The real reason I love this class is that Sjanie speaks directly to my heart. She makes me laugh + cry + think. Her opening + closing discussions are real + relevant + reverent. She talks about our souls being canoes on moonlit rivers + she cheers for the Seattle Sea Hawks. She asks us to please move into positions that are crazy challenging + I'm always so soaked in sweat that I'm in constant danger of my foot slipping out of my hand, whipping out and kicking someone in the head because her classes are so full because I am not at all alone in having my soul spoken to + my body challenged in life-affirming ways.
This week I went with my friend Pablo who had bought a pass to join me like a year ago + I never took him up on it, but he asked if he could help me with my challenge, and I was for sure into that! His review of the class is this:
"It makes you shake like Mambo No. 5, but like Mambo No. 5 you like it. There is a really good energy to the class + it's hard AF + slippery as all hell (bring a towel + water bottle) + fo. sho. I'd go again."
In exciting news, (I can't tell if it's because of new found flexibility for real or just because I was so overheated from exertion) I got my head onto my knee.
I also dumped my water bottle on someone else's mat and frantically tried to mop it up while doing an up-dog. I'm calling it "I fucked-up dog."
Class 12 - Hatha
I wasn't sure what I was going to write about this class but at the end a woman walked up to me rather conspiratorially. I had a brief heart fluttering moment- "oh my, she's going to ask me how I did that wheel pose so well!" (Hey guys, I can do the wheel pose again!) and she said "I don't know if you know this, but you have a hole in the back of your tights."
One fast exit later here are my notes-
I took the day before off + my obliques and arms were on fire from various other classes I've been taking. I'm assuming Belly Fit + Sjanie's class played some major role in this. The instructor asked if we would like to focus on legs or arms and the class voted arms + my soul died a little bit.
My wheel pose could still use some work (I looked up what it's supposed to look like, and 10,000% I am not there yet) but I am very excited to report I'm off the ground + doing it again, although the instructor did make a point to say "it's not even an advanced pose" so there goes any last remaining shred of pride on this one I guess. I need to get my heart higher + come out by tucking my chin first so I don't end up hurting my neck but next class I will try again!
This class also had me reflect about how it's interesting + fun to feel your body change. Things were hurting in class but they were hurting because my muscles were tired from being strong + working, not from watching TV + snuggling the dog anymore which while painful, was less painful.
Class 13- Yin
Kyle and I went to this class and he hated it and I loved it. One of his major beefs is my major love of it- the instructor is TALKIE. He taught us all about karma + told some interesting // mildly offensive (?) stories about reincarnation and I was brought back to one of my favourite undergraduate courses- the one on world religions that I found fascinating. The thing is when I'm in class, as you know, my mind has a tendency to run away from me. Kyle on the other hand just tells his mind to be quiet and it goes quiet. Outside of yoga we really make a great team. So during class I was thinking, "yay! I don't have to worry about my turning my thoughts off, I get to listen to stories!" and Kyle was thinking, "aw man my mind was going to be so joyfully shut off this whole time and I'm stuck listening to stories."
Kyle's other beef with the class is he was literally too tall for it (me too! - in case you didn't know, Kyle and I are a fairly tall couple. When most people come over to our house they can't reach anything, for example, I have to get the toaster down before my mom dog-sits. The class was packed (see, I'm right, it was a good class) and he and I both took a foot to the face and my sphinx pose was more - "oh my goodness I'm so sorry I grabbed your leg pose" and our feet got stuck under the cupboard at the back. So I get the beef, ok?
Back to the stories- apparently stories happen once per month and the rest of the time this instructor talks about yin practice and Kyle and I are actually both interested in going to that class because I think we both are missing some technicalities of our practices.
In Yin you hold poses for a really long time. You are supposed to go to a place where you feel something and breath into it, then go a little further and throughout the pose you can keep moving further and further so that you get really deep by the end.
But here was the class highlight!
BANASANA. It was a side stretch on the floor + the instructor told us to get into stacked bananas + called it banasana + we thought it was soooooo funny. We died laughing for like an hour discussing all the different banana poses we could do.
Class 14 - Kundalini
This was the night of funny sounding exercises. Tabatas +Kundalini.
I went to a tabatas class with Marie which "consists of eight rounds of ultra-high-intensity exercises in a specific 20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off interval" and I came home saying to Kyle-
"I know I committed to this yoga thing but I am so exhausted I can hardly walk. Should I go to Yin or Kundalini? I really want to try Kundalini before the end of the challenge. Maybe you could go with me later this week?"
Now, Kyle's version and my version of the events that transpired after this statement differ.
Kyle's filled with lies version:
He had looked up Kundalini on Youtube and saw it was just a bunch of hippies (hippies is a loving term) swinging around, so it was NBD and I should go.
Eva's 100% True Version:
Kyle panicked that I would force him to go with me later that week and did everything he could to get out of having to do weirdo dancing yoga. He lied his face off about having looked it up and made me go to AN INSANELY INTENSE CRAZY WORKOUT THAT WAS DISGUISED AS YOGA.
To be clear, I know I should do my own research on things, but it's so much easier to ask Kyle+ get mad at him if he messes up.
Other points of clarification: Tabatas is really hard. And Kundalini is really hard. And they use literally the exact same moves. But Kundalini also includes a free-form dance portion? Also with chanting. Very active chanting.
Here were my overwhelming thoughts:
I'm going to kill Kyle.
This Kyle guy is an asshole.
This is major deju vu.
I really wish I'd brought a towel.
This is a literal nightmare.
I think I'm going to throw up.
Why with the partner work?
Pretty sure I will be doing this again.
Even deep in the midst of my torment I thought this is something I hate right now but pretty sure in 6 months someone is going to ask me to go with them to get a drink and I'm going to say, "sorry I can't, I'm going to my kundalini class tonight."
I think I better write more about kundalini but this post is already super rambly so I will do that later. Let's just say that there were 3 dance songs where I just let myself go knowing it was the end of the class and I sure do love active dancing and then we did a ton of leg raises because it was no where near the end of the class and it was the worst. And my walk up the stairs to our apartment included a very precarious moment where I thought I might fall down them.
Class 15- Hatha
Another Zoe class. I haven't taken enough of her classes to give the official endorsement yet, but I went into the class, saw it was her and was super excited. Then I remembered I had picked this class because she was teaching it and I got to feel really good about my decisions.
She's just really lovely. Her Hatha class is really lovely. It's a little challenging without ever feeling challenging and she's just got an attitude I really appreciate. She says funny things without being funny and she just seems to be one of those people who may actually radiate sunshine out of their soul. She got me to drop my shoulders and as soon as she did that I was like, yep, that's my thing so I'll keep my mind on that in my next class.
I'd love to wrap this post up by saying "so that's the end of Week 3"- But I missed it! It's definitley closer to the end of week 4 so instead I'll say it's the end of 15/20 classes that I'm aiming to do in rapid fire, and to make it up I'm really going to try and see how many classes I can get done this week and count it! HA!