Friday, January 31, 2014

Yoga: YMCA-Style

I've taken all kinds of yoga over the years. It's interesting to me because even though many of the postures will be the same, there's still a lot of variation in the styles of class you can take. I generally gravitate towards what a lot of people would call "power" yoga. I love Ashtanga because it's very structured and it makes me feel super strong afterward. I also went through a big Bikram phase and got pretty hooked on sweating it out in the 105 degree room.

The yoga class I took at the South Shore YMCA this week wasn't listed on the schedule as being a specific style so I wasn't sure what exactly to expect. We started class with a short meditation where we focused on tapping into our breath and letting go of any outside thoughts and distractions. I always like this because it can be kind of a jolt sometimes coming in from the car and snow and yuck and have to instantly calm your mind and be ready to move. The first half of class was mostly standing postures, in including sun salutations and various warrior poses. I felt like we held some the postures a lot longer than I was used to and I liked it. My quads were shaking at one point! When we moved onto seated postures it focused more on opening up the hips. We did some spine twisting and hamstring stretches as well. Of course, we finished class in Savasana (corpse pose) to let everything soak in.

Overall I felt like this class would be very accessible to beginners. I noticed the instructor suggested many modifications and everyone had a strap and block next to their mat if needed. The group exercise room at the South Shore Y is very large so the class didn't feel crowded at all. (Something I've struggled with at smaller studios before.) Although it was slower paced, I still felt challenged from having to hold some of the positions, and I noticed my abs were sore the next day so I obviously tapped into my core muscles.

Class #2 down! I took a rest week after running a marathon on Sunday but I'm planning on getting back at it next week!

Next up: Body Combat

Full Disclosure: I have been offered a free family membership to the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee in 2014 in exchange for blogging, tweeting and general social-media-ing about my experiences there. Hey, why not? Sounds good to me. 

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