This evening I took my first Hatha Yoga class at my gym. Not knowing exactly what to expect I will warn newcomers that it takes practice. If before I thought I was flexible now I know I am NOT.
Reading up on hatha yoga right before posting this entry, I learned that it consists of slow-paced stretching and assists newcomers in learning the basic poses and helping them to feel comfortable with the practice of yoga. Yes, it was slow-paced so I did not feel exerted to the point of being out of breath but I was exerted to the point of losing my balance once or twice and feeling that my stretching could go no further. What I did find amazing was how slight adjustments to my body allowed me to stretch deeper and for longer.
My class instructor was an adorable, petite, older woman who I think must have been from Russia. More than half of what she told the class to do I did not understand but it was ok as it allowed me to zone out more during the hour. She told us to leave our bad days outside the door because the space we were in now was a judgement free zone without competition. I liked this idea a lot (although being a newcomer I still did not want to look like a fool in front of my peers–does that count as competition?). After each sequence/stretch/hold that we completed she would tell us “thank you”. After a few times I caught on that this was my signal to finish that move. She constantly reminded us that we all looked be-auuutiful (even to the guy in front of me whose intensity with yoga was a bit intimidating in my opinion).
It was a nice welcome from the every day hustling and bustling that we do getting from point a to point b. I am finding that the body is a temple that we must treasure–after all we only get one. I know I will sleep well tonight knowing that I activated some muscle groups that must not get enough use in my other workout routines. As a runner I will be saying thank you come Saturday morning…