Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter 2013 Yoga Session

As my oldest child turns 12, I am reminded that I have been practicing Yoga for a long time having started in Pregnancy Yoga back in 2000.  Throughout these years, yoga classes and my personal practice have been a steady anchor for me as a "get away" from family life - just a break for 2 hours to come back refreshed and a better version of me.  Lately, people have been asking me if yoga is a good "workout".  Hmmmmm.  Well, I suppose it can be.  It definitely is if you do it in a 95 degree room with 65% humidity, but we don't have rooms like that in Viroqua in January. 

I always feel like I have worked in yoga class -- yoga isn't easy, especially if you have been taught how to engage your body for a stretch in any given pose.  It can be even more demanding to work on a more subtle level with the breath trying to keep it smooth and steady over the course of a class -- huffing and puffing is really not the goal of yoga -- a long smooth breath triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and allows you to put your mind out of business so you can relax and recalibrate. 

I think we lose something if the goal of yoga is a "workout".  I feel like yoga class is an investment in mastering an ancient science.  If my goal as a teacher is "to kick your butt" and make you sweat, I miss the opportunity to teach you the deeper elements of the poses, the tradition,  and the practices.  That said, I love a very challenging yoga class and I aim to challenge you.  Part of what helps me challenge students is if they have a strong foundation in the poses and have been trained to engage their bodies and move energy in a pose.  You get this in classes where there's plenty of "lab time" to explore and master the bio-mechanics of the postures.

I am currently taking an online class called, "Asana Junkies Webinar" where we practice a set advanced sequence for up to two hours a day holding each pose for 1 minute.  It is a major trip around the body to practice like that for two hours, but there's no huffing or puffing involved.  I am leading anyone who wants to join me in this in my Intermediate Led Practice class on Thursday afternoons from 12:45-2:45 and on Sundays from 7-9:30 am.  If you want a yoga challenge that will kick your butt, that's my best recommendation.   Also, my Flow class on Thursday mornings from 8:30-9:45 is a Power Yoga class without the heat. 

My Tuesday and Saturday Morning classes at 8:30 and 8 am are very challenging and are moving toward Level 2 classes with an emphasis on Handstand and Wheel Poses -- I am teaching these as All Level classes with "bus stops" to get off at so you can practice wisely.  My Gentle class, Tuesdays at 10:30 is my favorite class of the week with many seniors and people recovering from injuries -- absolutely sweet and restorative. 

I am offering a Yoga Nidra relaxation class for $5 donation on Thursdays from 11:30-12:30 that anyone who can lie down and close their eyes can enjoy -- an antidote for modern life.  Finally, beginners should come to my Thursday night at 6:15 class or Saturday mornings from 10:15-11:45 am (Sat Beginners through February only).

Maybe Yoga will feel like a workout, but its purpose is much deeper and more meaningful.  I feel like it is my duty as a teacher to do justice to the tradition and offer more than a fitness teacher would in a health club.  As your local yoga teacher, it is my job to teach you yoga -- to offer more than you can get on a yoga video.  I welcome you -- come let me share this ancient science and magnificent tradition with you.  It is a practice for life that can lead you  deeper into the meaning of your life and to a greater sense of your true nature.  And, you'll feel better in your body and be nicer to your kids :-).