Yesterday was the 7th and final consecutive day in which I practiced yoga in an hour-long “power yoga” class format. Tonight, I went for an easy 4-mile run along the river. That week of yoga did some great things for me, I feel. My run tonight was fabulous. The weather helped (clear skies, dusk, no wind, 50 or so degrees), but I felt both light on my feet and limber. Kind of like Tigger – I bounced.
Some context: these classes last week were all at the same yoga studio; all following the flowing, vigorous Ashtanga-Power yoga format; all in rooms heated to at least 95 degrees F; all accompanied by usually contemporary music; led by young, fit, ebullient yet tranquil instructors; and all quite full of other people eager to attend to their practice, en masse. Why do it 7 days in a row? To try something different; my fitness regimen -and free time in general- felt like it needed an enema. And, it was free: this studio offers new students a whole week a free classes.
I’d show up, check in, line up my mat & towel in the toasty room, and attempt to relax until the class started. Then, all of us, our limbs, and our breath were off like racehorses, for an hour of work. The flow of the poses and the rhythm I found meditative; the only real distractions were when my salty sweat would drip into my eyes and sting, or at the few times that I became concerned about colliding with the yogi nearest to me.
Then, at the end, in the fairly brief final relaxation, I would again attempt to relax, with less success than I expected. Perhaps it too much to ask of myself? The heat, the music, and the nearness of so many other people: these are all very stimulating, and I am accustomed to having more time allowed for this element. Nevertheless, I was able to slow down my breathing, empty out my brain a bit, and melt into the mat. Thus far, it has served as nearly sufficient physical cooldown; I may need to practice this style a bit more to see if there is more to this style’s savasana, for me.
So, back to Tigger, and the benefits of this week o’ hot, sweaty yoga. I believe my flexibility and core strength has improved. I’m not sure the knots in my upper back/shoulders have improved. My breathing feels deeper, both during the workday as well as during my run.
I skipped my normal most-evenings yoga practice during that week. This usually consists of Iyengar and a little Vinyasa, by candlelight, with gentle music; even if it’s invigorating, it’s relaxing for me. I miss that repose, and am eager to get back into it; it helps me ease into sleep.
Will I continue with the power style classes, as part of my overall practice? I am very tempted to. Perhaps of late I’ve gotten too few opportunities to dance: the flowing style just feels good! It’s a fun way to get core strengthening work in. And, I’m drawn to the cleansing feeling brought on by the sweat.
I’ve had trouble keeping up with the laundry; and today’s run felt so good that I’m not ready to hang up the shoes for the winter. Maybe I’ll try just taking two classes a week.