Yoga is the 'in' thing to do right now, although it is by no means a new form of exercise - the practice of yoga has been around for thousands of years. There are yoga studios popping up everywhere in Auckland, lines of activewear dedicated exclusively to it and wearing yoga pants as an everyday outfit (guilty!) has become socially acceptable. I had heard people rave about how much they love it - my parents, sister, friends, the internet - and my cousin is a yoga teacher in Christchurch (she runs her studio from her home and always looks glowing and amazing), so I thought I should give it a try.
Luckily for me, there are regular classes at community hall just down the road from my house so I really didn't have to make much of an effort to find one that fit my schedule and was easy to get to. I have done a lot of Pilates throughout the years and really enjoy it so I was interested to see how yoga compared. Feeling a little nervous and unsure of what to expect I attended a Saturday morning 'flow' class (I am still learning the differences between the various styles). I was greeted by a fantastically friendly and warm teacher and a welcoming group of people, so I felt instantly at ease. Once the class started it took me a while to settle in and focus my ever-racing mind on the poses, the position of my body in space and my breathing, but once I did that I found my 'zen' (like I do when I'm at the gym or running) and the hour and a bit class raced by.
I found some of the poses more difficult than others and felt 'the burn' in my muscles during some of them, especially in my quads during the warrior pose sequence, which I wasn't expecting. It was certainly more of a workout that I was anticipating and quite different from Pilates. I loved the encouragement from the teacher to just "do what feels right for your body" and that whatever that was, was 100% fine. Afterward I felt very relaxed and bendy - sitting at a desk all day combined with lifting heavy weights several times a week means I am often tight throughout my hip flexors, hamstrings back and neck - yoga stretched all of that tension out. I really enjoyed my first yoga experience and I can certainly see why people love it and why it suits all shapes, sizes, ages and genders. I think it's something that I will try to incorporate into my life on a regular basis.
Love, health and happiness,