I’ve had an on-again, off-again flirtation with yoga for years. My first blind date – Hatha yoga with a pudgy middle aged woman – was so blindingly dull that I got completely turned off. Living in Boston as an impoverished grad student, I became a yoga serial dater, practicing around by taking advantage of the “free trial class” offers and then never showing up again. Hot yoga, power yoga – you name it, I’ve tried it…. exactly once. But no class was so life-changing that I wanted to return and pay $15+ per hour to repeat the experience.
When I moved to Munich, I went a good two years without doing a single down-dog. I wanted to like yoga, but… didn’t. That changed when I tried the yoga classes at the ultra-lux fitness club that my former employer paid for. I found a teacher I loved and went to all 3 of her weekly classes for about a year and half running. It was love. The class was both intensely strenuous and intensely relaxing – an addictive combination. I thought I had found my soul mate.
But I hated that job, and when I quit I had to leave the fitness club, too, and I fell off the bandwagon a bit. I knew I needed to get back into regular practice.
That’s why, for the month of August, I’ve decided to do a 30 day yoga challenge. The daily goal is at least 20 minutes, which I try to fit in before work. Mostly I rely on the free (!) downloadable yoga podcasts from yogadownload.com, available on iTunes. They’re really, really good, and they also include a visual pose guide. My favorite is the Morning Flow (episode #11) – it’s a great, energizing way to start the day.
My next yoga discovery was the Jillian Michaels “Yoga Meltdown” yoga DVD. As mentioned, Jillian Michaels is the antichrist (in a good way). Damn, does this class work your booty. It’s an amazing workout because in every pose she she makes you “rep it out” (her phrase), i.e. flowing in and out of poses quickly to transform yoga into an incredibly aerobic activity (read: it leaves me panting).
I’m already a third of the way through the 30 day challenge, and I’m feeling some great benefits. I am definitely gaining strength, but not in a bulky, “two inches to your biceps” kind of way. And although it’s a great workout, I don’t feel wiped out afterwards (like I do when I run in the mornings); I feel stretched, energized and ready to start my day.
p.s. My hand sewn yoga bag is pretty fab, isn’t it? Contact me for order details. 😉