Hello Everyone! It is amazing how one day I am feeling really on top of my writing and then suddenly it is a week and a half later and I haven’t written a thing! So I have a lot to update you all on…Currently I am at Day 19 but today I want to focus on my second week of the Hot Yoga Challenge! This week was an colorful array of experiences, feelings, emotions, ups and downs.
Day 8: Hot Yoga Revolution (Garwood, NJ) with Erica Jung at 7:45pm
Not only is Erica so great that I want to keep coming back – I genuinely believe it is a fantastic class for newbies to hot yoga to come and feel very comfortable with easing into the practice. This is why today we brought our friend and LBG Special Events Co-ordinator to this class for her first ever Hot Yoga experience! The friendly atmosphere of the studio, coupled with Erica’s fun and relaxed teaching style really allows you to just feel at home. What I love about Erica is that she doesn’t take herself SO seriously. I like to work hard and challenge myself with my practice but I also love the feeling that “it’s just yoga”…if you can’t feel relaxed and stress free in yoga then we are really in trouble! And in Erica’s class I always feel stress free!
Day 9: Powerflow (Livingston) with Amy Witmyer – noon class
I don’t even know where to begin here! Amy has been an amazing find for me. I have been practicing yoga for 13 years and this class literally was the first class ever where I felt so completely free and encouraged to listen to my body and flow from my intuition of what I need. Don’t get me wrong…many teachers (including myself) respect your need to take a break in child’s, lay in savasana (relaxation) during their classes when you need it. Many teachers (including myself) will provide modifications of poses they are leading you through to ensure the safety of all levels of students in their classes… however… Amy has a gift! She has a gift of being able to manage a class of several people with different needs and desires for their yoga practice and her open style of teaching truly provides the opportunity to genuinely connect with what your body is asking for. I felt no hesitation doing pigeon when she was guiding everyone through a flow, and when she does guide the class through movement and poses she offers so many options at each turn that you are bound to find one that works beautifully for you. With 5 people in class we could all be doing separate poses and Amy doesn’t skip a beat. She welcomes it and loves when you tune inward. No ego here. An amazing ability to provide an authentically connected experience in a class of many. And now that I have it I don’t ever want to be without it in my practice. My hope is that I can make her noon class on Wednesdays a regular part of my schedule.
Day 10: Yoga and Healing Center with Deidre Trama
I am loving how each class I take is completely different from the others. With every class I find something special to appreciate and be grateful for. With Deidre I am grateful for her voice that almost lulls me into a meditative trance through my practice. I cannot express how important it is for me to connect to the sound of a teacher’s voice. It makes all the difference. I am appreciative of this calm but challenging Thursday evening practice! It has been so great to step outside of my “yoga box” to experience new places, teachers, flows etc…but it is also such a wonderful feeling to be with a teacher that you know and love who makes you feel happy just by walking into her room! Thank you Deidre for truly being present to your students, in turn helping me stay present to my practice as well.
Day 11: Powerflow (Livingston) with Amy Witmyer
Well I knew this day was coming. If you are doing a 30 Hot Yoga Challenge and you are a woman…inevitably you will face the day when you are bloated and crampy and in pain and are still committed to doing yoga. Just so you all know… my pain is not the average pain. I have suffered with extreme issues my entire life, eventually resulting in abdominal surgery 4 years ago. It is not an exaggeration to tell you that since I have been 13 years old (21 years) I have never been able to exercise or practice yoga while on my period. Never once! So logically this was my easy out on Day 11. I could let myself off the hook easily! But I didn’t… luckily for me Amy was doing another noon class today and I realized it was the only class I would really feel comfortable doing in my bodily and emotional state. It was wonderful. I surprised myself by getting through the majority of the class with modifications. And of course everything that I appreciated on Wednesday was there again. I made it through! I survived! Woohoo!
Day 12: Balance Yoga (with Pheobe) at 10:30am
Day 2 of my cycle is no better than Day 1. In fact I feel worse today. I had a rough night and again was faced with the decision of what to do about my hot yoga practice. I looked online (because I am very lucky to have the option of about 50 yoga classes in a 30 minute drive from me at any particular time). I see that Balance has a gentle beginner class and that also means only 3 minutes in my car. I am in! When I arrive I let the teacher know about how I am feeling, I set myself up by the door and I cross my fingers that I will make it through. The class was great – looooong – but great. If I wasn’t in pain I would have been in heaven. It was supposed to be an hour and 15 minute class but turned into an hour and 40 minutes. As much as I enjoyed the teacher I have to say that this is something I wish yoga teachers would be more mindful of in general. I know, as a teacher myself, it is easy to get carried away and caught up in getting it all in. We want to make sure we provide a full experience…however just as important is understanding that people schedule their days and their practice around the time on the schedule. And maybe this is just the New Jersey in me talking because we lead such overly scheduled lives that every minute counts. That being said – the only reason I minded the extended class on this Saturday morning was because of my pain – this resulted in my laying in savasana for 30 minutes of the class! But again…I made it through!
Day 13: Yoga and Healing Center (with Toni Reino) at 9:30am
Finally feeling a bit better today…and I know that Toni provide me with a class that is exactly what I need. Enough of a challenge if I choose to take it with a balance of gentle options for the moments that I need to rest. I am excited to go to class in the studio where I have been practicing for 2 years and with a teacher I love. Toni is a young woman (a decade younger than me) with a soul that makes me feel like she has the wisdom of 1,000 years of living. As a teacher I know that she completely immerses herself in the tradition, history, meaning, connection and energy of all that is yoga. When she leads a class you can be assured that an amazing amount of thought and intention has been infused into the physical postures you are lead through. This morning was a gift and I am thankful for this class! And for Toni!
It was really tough getting myself to a class today. Busy busy day and the first opportunity was a night class. I have said several times how I struggle through night classes…but what kept me motivated was going to a class taught by Rose. Her reputation proceeds her and several close friends of mine sing her praises to me regularly. I have practiced with her once before and loved the class. It definitely is one of the more challenging classes I take and what makes class with Rose great is that she pushes and challenges you with a loving and gentle hand and voice. You can feel her rooting for you as you move into each posture. I feel like she is invested in my practice and if I will get down into my split, and how can she help me feel the most comfortable in the posture. I feel like there is no other place she would rather be at that moment than with this class of students, guiding us through our practice. I feel her passion and that ignites passion in me! It is an exciting class and I know that I needed my butt kicked as well because I have had to keep it gentle for days now. This is the perfect opportunity to push and work hard and get out all of the stress and kinks from my 3 days of pain! I am extremely thankful for this class and the teacher when it is over! I will be back next week!
So there you have it: Week 2 in Review! An interesting week of ups and downs, pleasure and pain. Lots more to tell…but this is enough for now…lol