M and I decided to kick our yoga game up a notch or three this year and, for the first time ever, I've found myself going to yoga class two or even three times a week AND IT'S HARD. Total surprise. This is a complete departure from my long-held contention that yoga is not exercise.
Yogi Greg. But all good things must come to an end, and Yogi Greg's tenure at Cabrillo Fitness expired when the Highway 1 evening commute became too soul-sucking for our pop-culture-savvy, sometimes-foul-mouthed Zen guru.
So we did what any fan does: we followed our yogi to a studio that specializes in hot vinyasa yoga and pilates. Although I only make it to one of Yogi Greg's classes a week, I've found a couple other instructors I enjoy taking classes from.
M and I had been all-stars in the front row of Tuesday classes at the gym. Turns out that class was bush league. Three weeks into my four-week trial, I'm a hot mess almost every class. High planks, vinyasa after vinyasa, balance poses for days -- you would never know if I'm crying because sweat is dripping from every part of my body. Some classes, the pace and the heat combine to make my heart pound and my head woozy. That's when child's pose is my favorite. Other days I think I'm killing it, but then I look around at all of the rail-thin Lululemon-wearing yoga chicks pushing up into crow pose like it's completely
normal to balance your legs on your arms and realize I have so far to go -- in my yoga practice and my wardrobe.
I think the classes would be difficult without the added heat and humidity, which makes me think that maybe sometimes yoga can be strength-building and — wait for it — even exercise. Yeah, I said it.
For now, though, I'm going to reserve any major judgements on these classes. I love the noodle-y feeling I have after yoga and my hips feel amazing when I run. But I'm waiting to see if regular practice leads to a stronger core and arms, or if I can ever master crow pose. If I apply what I know about running — it takes three weeks to benefit from a workout — to yoga, I might see some gains soon. I'll probably sign up for more time at this studio when my trial month is complete (M already pulled the trigger on a six-month membership, right after he got us the fancy yoga mat towels) and see how things go. Plus doing more yoga gives me a great reason to buy new workout tanks from Athleta … on sale, of course.
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"So be prepared to quit. Do it willingly and with honest resolve. You'll be back. The marvelous thing about running is that you will never become jaded by it. Boredom, injury or anguish may overtake you from time to time, but the reward that first drew you to begin logging the miles remain untarnished and available -- always. Just put on your shoes and head out the door."