Yesterday was probably one of the best Sundays I’ve had in a long time.
First of all, the weather was incredible. Just beyond belief. It was nearing 60 degrees all day with clear blue skies. So healing.
Kevin and I went for a run in Prospect Park in the early part of the day. There were so many people out and about, it was like Disney World. I just loved seeing everyone enjoying the day. Our run was perfect, about an hour, and so refreshing. I like exercising with Kevin – it’s like hanging out and working out all at once. It’s really nice.
After the run, I stopped back at the apartment to grab a sweater and my metrocard and then I headed to yoga class #1. This was an “open flow” class at Bend & Bloom, taught by my friend Jen. I’ve only taken this particular class one other time, two weeks ago, but I had an easier time of it yesterday than I did the time before. I knew to expect it to be slightly faster paced than the yoga I do at home and I also knew to expect some more intense poses than I’m used to. Jen said she considered yesterday’s class to be fairly challenging so I was happy to have just been able to keep up! I felt great when it was over, although I was a little tired from the intense class and my long run earlier in the day.
Jen kept reminding me that I had the option to bail on the second class, which we’d planned to attend together; she said she would totally understand if I wasn’t up for another hour and forty minutes of yoga on such a beautiful Sunday, but I told her I was most definitely going to the second class. I’d been looking forward to it all week.
We made our way into Manhattan, chatting the whole way about Jen’s experience being a yoga teacher. I had a lot of questions and she answered all of them. I gained some interesting insight into what might be in store for me. I also told Jen about the kind of yoga I imagine myself teaching and she was very encouraging of my ideas.
I’d never been to Om Yoga’s studios before. We arrived a little bit early and Jen showed me around the (huge, gorgeous) space and introduced me to some of her friends and former co-workers. Jen did her teacher training at Om, through their 6 week intensive, and she also used to work at their front desk, so she knew her way around.
I loved the energy in the studio. The photo above is their class schedule board for the day. Everyone was very nice and the space was so warm, inviting, comforting, and relaxing. While we were looking at a wrack of yoga shirts for sale in the lobby, the founder of Om Yoga, Cyndi Lee, walked up and said hello to Jen. I didn’t know who she was at the time, Jen told me later. She was a very sweet lady with a nice smile. It made perfect sense that her studio would be so inviting.
I wish I’d had more opportunity to look around in the little shop and enjoy some of the art on the walls. I bought a two-class-package (because it’s cheaper, per class, to buy two than just one) so I’ll definitely get to experience the homey space and warm energy a bit more.
The class we took was called “open & restorative,” and it was easily one of the best yoga classes I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Jen was absolutely right to suggest we take this particular class. She said it was one of her very favorites. I, too, loved it. It brought my love for yoga to a new level.
The room was slightly warm, the lighting was energizing and relaxing all at once, and the teacher was fantastic. The first part of the class was “flow,” which, from what I’ve been able to gather, means linking the breath to the pose. We did some really simple, yummy-feeling poses, slowly and gently, which felt so great on my fatigued muscles. It was incredible to spend a good hour practicing this way after having taken Jen’s more difficult class and I particularly liked having the two experiences back to back. Even though I initially doubted whether or not I’d be able to handle that much yoga in one day, I would take the back to back classes again in a heartbeat.
The best part of all, however, came during the second half of the class at Om. The restorative portion.
If you’ve never experienced a full-on restorative yoga class before, please take one. It might have changed me forever. Basically, after we were all warm and limber from the hour of poses, she had us rest in some unbelievably comfortable ‘healing’ positions, supported by different pillows and blankets. And then she turned the lights out. It was divine. Experiencing the dark room was like being wrapped in soft cotton. The sounds of the city outside the windows and the rise and fall of people’s breath all around the room was hypnotic. I’d notice my thoughts drift toward details of the week ahead or what I planned to have for dinner later and then I’d just gently guide them away from all that chatter and back to my breath. I was in heaven. I’m not someone who will force myself to *feel* something if I’m not actually feeling it, but the calm energy in the room was palpable. When it was over, I felt (and probably looked) like a happy zombie, as did everyone else in the room. It was as invigorating and relaxing as the best massage you’ve ever had. Wonderful.
And it was also a perfect way to end my Sunday. I spent the entire day in my workout clothes, either running, walking, or taking yoga class. I practiced over three hours of yoga. A bit much, perhaps, and certainly not something I would be able to do every day, not from a physical standpoint anyway. (Or could I?) But from a mental standpoint, I enjoyed myself very much and would be elated to spend most of my days doing things like I did yesterday. It felt natural, relaxing, and freeing to me. I felt like I spoiled myself. And the affects have stayed with me today.
In terms of beginning to train to teach yoga, I’m still interested. Although, I’ve learned that there’s really no way to keep my current schedule and embark on that journey at the same time. Right now, I work until 7pm every weekday. I also have “after-school” obligations three evenings each week, and every Saturday.
It seems there are a few different schedules for yoga teaching teacher. It can be done as an “intensive,” meaning you’re in class all day long for six weeks. That’s obviously not an option for me right now. It can also be done in the evening, generally four or five nights a week, which is also not an option for me right now. Or it can be done on the weekend, which means Friday nights and all day Saturday and Sunday, which is not an option with my current schedule either.
This leaves me with some things to think about. Neither my job nor my commitment to my sketch and improv teams is going to change anytime in the immediate future, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be able to make room for teacher training some day, maybe even sooner than I imagine. Right now, the best way I can continue to prepare myself to teach yoga someday is just to deepen my own practice, which I’d want to do whether I planned to teach or not.
I downloaded some new classes from Yoga Download yesterday. I’m also eager to try out different studios throughout the city. One common piece of advice I’ve heard from yoga teachers is that I should experience as many different kinds of yoga, different teachers, and different studios as possible so I can get a true sense of what resonates most with me.
In the meantime, I’m going to take that restorative class again as soon as I’m able.