Being All Zen and Stuff…

I’ve always been more of a wannabe yoga enthusiast, going just enough to sorta know what warrior pose is, but not nearly enough to do a head stand or not wobble during tree pose.

My fascination with yoga began years ago way before it was so popular when a doctor I was seeing suggested I check it out as an alternative to drinking, back when I was just another mono-infested college student who refused to heed the docs warning of no alcohol for a month despite the fact that my skin and pupils had turned a lovely shade of yellow…

Anyway…

Over the years I’ve gone on yoga kicks buying a 10 session pass here and there or attending classes at my gym,  and I usually list it as an interest/hobby due to my desire to have cool and unique interests beyond “reading, writing and music”  but my point is I’ve never been as devout a yogi as I could be…

Once, back in NYC I was somehow enticed by a damn Groupon or something to try a Bikram yoga class and am still horrified to this day about it.  The class is a hazy and sweat-infused memory but the subway ride home remains crystal clear.  It was winter and I had worn a puffy coat over my yoga gear.  I was so hot and sweaty after class that I just could NOT bring myself to put my coat back on the entire ride home so I braved the subway from the East Village to the Upper West Side (changing lines no less) as a hot mess in my yoga gear holding my coat and wondering if my body temperature would ever return to normal. It did, but I learned my lesson loud and clear, hot yoga was certainly not “my thing…”

Fast forward to present day, where my yoga options are extremely limited due to the fact that Newport has only a few studios and my lack of car leaves those options even slimmer.  This past summer I went to a Yoga in the Park session at Ballard Park – a great nature sanctuary off Ocean Drive.  That was nice.  The class was beginner to say the least but I still felt all connected to the universe afterwards.  Since then however, I’ve been waiting for my next yoga opportunity. The gym I attend has classes but they’re never at the right time and plus I’m always a bit skeptical of “gym yoga.”  For some reason I find gym classes more focused on doing the movements and getting in a workout but they lack the spiritual experiential part of yoga that’s my favorite part.  No soft music, no soothing narrative and no story-telling.

Most of my yogi friends in town attend Newport Power Yoga which is just a short walk from my apartment.  I was skeptical of this “power yoga’ thing because it sounded sneakily like Bikram (shudder).  Upon further research on their website and at my friends word that it wasn’t so bad I decided it was time to check it out.  I attended my first class this past Friday and really loved it.  It was a community class so it was open to all levels and the room was set at “moderate heat and steam to get the body loose.”  It was hot, yes, but somehow it didn’t bother me (which is strange considering I’m that girl visibly sweating through my blouse in the winter if the heat is too high at a bar…). Somehow even though the class was PACKED and I was thisclose to my neighbors mats, I found the class to be just what I was looking for.  I sweat out of every orifice (did you know your ankles can sweat?!), but I swear, it was actually a lot more pleasant than it sounds.  The class focused on breathing, strength and balance but the best part for me was something the instructor said at the end of the class.  He was talking about how for 50 mins you just show up, give it your best and escape from your everyday thoughts and worries.  I realized when he said this that my mind had been completely clear for the entire class.  I had been so busy focusing on my breath and following the moves that I literally hadn’t had one other thought for the whole class.  For me, this was groundbreaking.  I am physically incapable of shutting my mind off.  I lie awake at night thinking of the absolute most ridiculous things (just ask my boyfriend if you need further proof) so to have even a 1 hour escape is nothing short of a miracle.

If you’re like me and are looking for that perfect yoga experience to keep your interest and build both your soul and your strength, I’d highly recommend the Newport Power Yoga experience or something similar.  One other great thing about the class is that not only was it a lower cost community class (so that yoga can be accessible for people regardless of their financial situation) but this particular class (and every Friday at 7pm) was actually donation based and all proceeds go to a different local charity.

Until my next class….namaste friends!

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