Day 1: Hot Yoga Revolution in Garwood (7:45pm Beginner) with Erica Jung
- First day = night class! This was so not in my plan. It was definitely a challenge to practice at night but I made it through – priving to myself that even if I miss a morning class I can always get to an evening one.
- Nice way to start off the challenge – a slower beginner class that was not too hot
- With Terra and Shelley – always better for me when I can share the practice with people close to me.
- Erica Jung – a teacher we have taken classes form before so we knew what to expect and it was nice to start with the familiar. She was a great example of how a yoga teacher should adapt to the class they are teaching. We have taken a power class with Erica before and she transitioned beautifully from one class type to the other rather than showing up for her… she shows up for her students.
- I also met my first NEW Hot Yoga friend at HYR – Jennifer Talley! I have seen her at 2 more classes since then and I can honestly say that everything changes once you know even 1 friendly face in a sea of strangers. That is how you build your community! She may not have even realized that she was being an integral part of building her studio community… just by smiling, introducing herself and asking questions but she was!
Day 2: Hot and Soul Yoga in Red Bank (9:30am Vinyasa Flow) with Stacey
- Brand new studio and teacher to me this morning. I am interested and eager for the experience.
- A new floor that I have never practiced on – the pros are that I think it reduced the smelly-ness that you can sometimes get in a hot studio (especially ones with carpet and are in a basement). The cons – maybe a little too cushy because I found it quite difficult to balance and was a little nervous about rolling my ankles.
- The teacher was extremely knowledgeable and had many many tips to give throughout the class that I really appreciated. She may have filled up the space in between for your mind to just “be” a little too much for my taste…BUT I can see how it could be helpful for a lot of people who struggle with “monkey mind” in their practice, thinking of a million other things other than being present in the moment with the pose. Also there was no music (and I love music in class) so I did find it helpful to not have mostly silence either.
- All in all it was a good experience – just a different feel because the studio is in a large gym and I am not connected to that studio in any way right now.
Day 3: HYR (7:45pm Beginner Class) with Ginny Clarusso
- Another great night at HYR. I have taken classes there off and on whenever I could because the owner, Danielle Mojo, is a friend of mine and I love her! It has been great to have the opportunity to practice there more often because I really am experiencing the community she is building there. AND I felt like a part of the community right away!
- Ginny gives off a super kind and open vibe as a teacher. Another beginner class and another night class for me so I expected to not enjoy it as much… but Ginny definitely provided the energy for me to get outside of all of that and just “be” in the class and in my practice. She gave the option to start off our breathing exercise in savasana (laying down) and that was heaven to me at that moment. It really allowed me to prepare for the class in a relaxed way. I listened from the perspective of a beginner even though I have been practicing yoga for 13 years and I am a teacher… I wanted to feel how it would feel if I was brand new. And if I was a new student – I would love to have Ginny as a teacher!
- FUNNY SIDE NOTE: Terra and I had attempted to go to 3 classes this day. We were stuck in traffic and could not make it to Powerflow for our first class, then a meeting in Hoboken ran long and again we missed the noon class at Powerflow. We worked and worked and decided to try a new studio out together “Colt’s Neck Hot Yoga”…only in our haste to make it we read the schedule wrong and arrive for what we thought was a 6:30 class only to find out it started at 6pm. At this time I was going to give up
Day 4: Balance Yoga in Woodbridge (6:30pm Slow Flow) with Ruthie
- This studio is 2 minutes from my house…yet I never go there. My yoga community really centers around Scotch Plains/Westfield/Garwood/Cranford or Hazlet/Red Bank/Sea Bright/Spring Lake and most recently I am adding Livingston/Mont Clair to the mix. When I find a community – I am as loyal as they come. I am not just going to practice a sequence of physical postures…I am going to fill up my soul! That, for me, is achieved through the people, love and energy that surrounds me while I practice asana (phsyical practice of yoga) and believe it or not it is not always an easy thing to cultivate in our busy and isolating society. SO when I find it – I stick. I moved to Woodbrige long after I had established my yoga community so I have not quite connected Balance studio yet but hope to do so!
- I did meet one new yoga friend at Balance – Janice! She was sitting next to me and for the first time in a while I was actually early for class so I decided to strike up a conversation with Janice and hope that she might be a friendly person! My hopes were confirmed and I really enjoyed practicing with her – it made a big difference. Now I want to go back next Friday to chat again! She made me feel welcomed and it was so wonderful to hear about her journey into yoga!
- The teacher, Ruthie, is the only teacher I have practiced with at Balance because she teaches a $5 community class there. I think this is one of the best things ever! I always feel so sad that yoga in New Jersey often can feel inaccessible when you do not have a lot of money to buy classes or a membership…so when studios offer community classes I feel overjoyed about the number of people who will at least be able to practice weekly – who may not have before. $5 is the cheapest I have ever seen around here and for that reason alone I will make it my place to practice on Friday nights.
Day 5: HYR (8:30am Open Level) with Sonia Quintero
- This day and class was a welcome joy. When I woke up I found my body exhausted, achey and my mind was tired. I didn’t know how I was going to make it to class. BUT – my driving force was that my dear friend Deidre Trama was going to be there and I have not seen her in so long and I wanted to practice side by side with her…so I was up and out the door by 7:45am.
- Thankfully I was rewarded for my commitment to going to class because I met Sonia Quintero, the teacher, who lightened up the mood of the early morning saturday crew by cracking jokes, having a bangin’ playlist and really providing a well rounded, wonderfully sequenced challenging class. I went deep into my places of tightness and stress in my body and in my mind. And when I came out on the other end I felt revived, happy and ready to face the very big day I had ahead of me.
- After class I had the opportunity to speak to Sonia more and we chatted about blogging (she has a blog “Yogi on a Wire” which I can’t wait to read). Another friend made – another addition to my growing yoga community that I love so much!
Day 6: YHC in Scotch Plains (9:30am Vinyasa) with Deidre Trama
- I always have loved Sunday morning hot yoga at YHC. This morning was no different. I woke up to messages on Facebook from friends who were planning to go to class and that made me more excited. For me, it always makes a class a million times better to have my friends practicing right along side of me! H-E-A-V-E-N
- The teacher, Deidre, is one of my closest friends so I always get excited to spend time with her. She is doing the hot yoga challenge so we get to see each other a lot more lately – this is something I am super grateful for. In such a busy busy world these days it just seems like such a perfectly natural fit for the time when I am slowing down my movement and my mind in yoga class is also the time that I get to spend with friends… and really be present with each other.
- OH BOY!!! Last day of my first full week and it starts off with too much to do to make it to a morning class. So for someone who made the claim at the beginning of this challenge to “Make it to as many morning classes as possible”… I am sure doing a great job of doing exactly the opposite. I have gone to 4 night classes in the past week…including tonight!
- In addition – the class in question tonight was Hot 26 which is essentially Bikram without calling it by the name Bikram. This is the yoga style that I have a Love/Hate relationship with! I know it is sooooo good for me. I know that when I am finished I feel sooooo good, yet that does not make up for the torture that it is for me to go through the first half of the class in the standing series! Yikes.
- Tonight was no different. In fact, I think tonight was the toughest Hot 26 class I have ever taken. The class was super super hot from the moment we walked in. I was dripping with sweat within 5 minutes of practice. I struggled with the thoughts that were coming into my mind. Every second minute I wanted to quit. Every other minute my mind was consumed with wondering why I decided to come to this class, and why is it so hard to breathe tonight, and work details, and what am I going to eat when I am finished…until it became too hot to think…then I surrendered to the practice and decided I was going to take a break and lay on the floor during the second set of standing bow pose. From that point on I decided to go easy with myself… I was having foot pain and abdominal pain at some points but I was determined to make it through the class.