A few weeks ago, I was feeling a little off all day and decided I didn’t want to go to the gym for my normal weight and cardio type of workout. I felt like I needed something, but something more along the lines of yoga, which is something that sadly gets neglected far too often in my training schedule. Luckily, there are 2 yoga studios within a short walk from my apartment, so I was able to satisfy my need/want for yoga. I opted to go to CorePower Yoga in Newton Corner since they give new students and ENTIRE WEEK for FREE! How cool is that?! With classes running you $23 a pop, getting the chance to even get one for free is a treat.
In typical Monique fashion, I decided that I should make the best of the free week and get to as many classes as possible, which ended up being 4 since we were away over the weekend. My first class was a little rough. My bad shoulder was bothered by a lot of the moves (I realized later probably because I wasn’t used to moving it that much), my mind just couldn’t slow down and I was too focused on remembering how to get my body the way it was supposed to be rather than really soaingk in the aspects of yoga I needed: calmness, breathing & slowing down my mind. I also wasn’t a fan of the instructor as there seemed to be no flow to what he was having us do and I think I can settle into my practice the most when we are flowing through sequences and focusing on our breathing.
My second class was the Yoga Sculpt, which wasn’t really what I wanted for that particular day (a Sunday late afternoon when I was already sore), but it ended up being a really great class. I love that it incorporated yoga AND weights AND cardio all in one class- totally my style and the instructor, Angela, was great! It was a small class, but she kept the energy high and pushed us through some challenging sequences. I also felt like I was able to get into my groove better and leave more thoughts outside of my mat. This is a great class for people who think they don’t like yoga or that it’s not a good enough workout (even though it is a workout if you want it to be!).
My third class was the 6pm CorePower Yoga 2 with Carrie, which was really great! It was challenging and there were some good flows and by the end I was a sweaty, sweaty mess & felt totally noodle-y. I even surprised myself with rocking out a challenging arm balance, which felt way easier than it used to feel when I practiced yoga regularly.
My fourth and last class may have been the best. My body felt so much more flexible, my mind was quiet, my breathing matched every move and my shoulder wasn’t bothering me anymore. Emily G taught the 6pm CorePower Yoga 2 and she challenged us by having us go through a 10 minute flow! By the end, I was exhausted, but felt really good. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to yoga since I was feeling a little off so I told myself I would take it easy. Once I got on my mat and slowed my breathing, everything felt better and I left so happy that I went.
My whole yoga experience at CorePower Yoga last week taught me/reminded me about a few things:
1. Muscle Memory is a fantastic thing. Even though my first few classes were a little rough due to the fact that I hadn’t practiced yoga in MONTHS, once I got back into the flow (literally) of things, my body remembered how to do the things that I hadn’t done in so long. I was able to relax into child pose and pigeon pose and I remembered what the various sun salutations were and how the breathing aligned with each movement.
2. Strength training helps in so many aspects of your life. Although I hadn’t practiced yoga in a while, thanks to regularly lifting weights, my body felt strong in all of the poses I tried- from chaturanga to forearm balances to standing balancing poses, everything felt easier than it did when I was practicing yoga regularly.
3. Practice makes you better, but some days you may not be where you were the day before and I love that yoga encourages us to acknowledge an accept this. It’s so easy for me to get hung up on always trying to be better than I was the day before, but that’s just not how life works. Some days I can whip out 4-5 chin ups and some days it’s hard to do 1. Some days I can run 5 miles and feel amazing and sometimes 3 is a real struggle. Life is always going to ebb and flow and have ups and downs and yoga is a good reminder that that’s all part of life!
4. Breathing helps. A lot. Whatever it is- whether a holding a challenging pose, finishing that last rep or handling a rough situation or argument, breathing through it will always help you get through it.
The sad part about yoga is how expensive it is, so I need to be on the lookout for some deals because I KNOW how good it is for me to try and practice fairly regularly. The way I feel when I leave yoga is a totally different feeling than when I leave the gym after a cardio/strength training session, which is why I need to make it a priority to fit both types of workouts into my workout schedule. I can see the calmness and peacefulness of yoga really coming in handy leading up to my wedding 😉
Questions for you: Do you practice yoga? Where do you practice it? What do you look for in a yoga class? What have you learned about yourself from a workout (lifting, yoga, running, etc.)?
If you’re looking for a flow you can do at home, check out this post: Strong & Lean Yogamomto Yoga Sequence