I had been interested in yoga for years and years before I finally took a class. I was intimidated, too easily intimidated, away from it. I’m not flexible, what if I can’t DO the stuff, etc. Sort of silly when I look back – yoga isn’t (or shouldn’t be) about a perfect pose, about being flexible, about any of that. A good teacher can help you do the modifications that make the pose work for your body. One of my favorite videos is by Brian Kest, and he constantly says “find your edge, and when you’ve found your edge, that’s your pose.”

So when I finally took some yoga, it was only about 3 years ago, and it was an intro class at an Iyengar studio with some friends. It was great to get started. I went to classes sometimes, but it was oddly difficult for me to get myself to go to the classes. I never felt quite comfortable.

A friend who lived in my apartment complex and who had been doing yoga for years and years started to do an informal yoga class (for free!) for the apartment residents. I went to that, and it was eye-opening. She did more vinyassa type yoga. I’m glad I started with Iyengar – it focuses on correct alignment, and you spend a lot of time getting into a pose and holding it. To learn, it was great. It took me a while before I was comfortable with the relative quickness of vinyassa, but once I got into it, I loved it.

I started getting some videos, and I never did do much to find a studio I liked, and I never did get into the habit of going to the Iyengar place regularly. My yoga friend went through teacher training, and needed someone to practice teaching on. She needed to get 15 hours of teaching in, and I was thrilled to be the one she practiced on. She had always been a good instructor, but she went from good to amazing during her training, and getting essentially private lessons was another revelation for me.

When I moved here and started looking into yoga studios, it seemed that unless I went into DC, most of the places around here were either hatha (meditative and breathing are the focus there, and while I think it is good sometimes, it is not what I necessarily want out of a class) or iyengar. Nothing seemed quite right. In addition, the ones that I found that did have vinyassa or ashtanga (aka power yoga) seemed to sell classes in sets of five, and you were buying five consecutive weeks. I didn’t trust that I’d stick to a regular schedule, so that was a frustration as well.

I started looking into it again a couple months ago, and I did find a studio I thought would work pretty well for me. And hey, I can give it a try and if I don’t like it, no big deal. But I never quite made the effort to go. Then last weekend I noticed an advertisement for a new yoga studio on the bulliten board of my local coffeeshop. I looked closer and was thrilled to realize this yoga studio is extremely close – walking distance, in fact.

Today I went to my first class. It started at 9am, so instead of my normal sunday of not getting started on anything until 11am or later, I was up and out of my condo before 9. The studio is mostly vinyassa, but the class I went to today is what she calls “yin yang”. Most of us have heard of that symbol, and might know more or less what it means, but how does it apply to yoga?

It was a combination of holding poses and doing vinyassa flows. It was a combination of doing passive stretches, “releases”, and doing poses that are more active, requiring the ‘force’ of resistance.

I enjoyed it, and more importantly I really liked the instructor. The studio has been open about 2 months now, and the class was a pleasant size for the room – not too empty, but not crowded. The instructor had a lot of energy, and a lot of understanding of the body. She obviously loved her “job”, and loved that we were there to share in it with her.

Everyone, with the possible exception of one person, lives in the neighborhood, so we all walked to the studio. Oh, they try to be as green as possible at the studio as well, which obviously pleases me.

I felt blissful after the class, and wandered down the street to my coffeeshop, and then home.

It was a really great way to start my Sunday.

winter sunrise