It’s been almost four years since I actually stepped foot in a yoga studio. You’re probably thinking that’s a bit insane since I have a blog about yoga and you’re reading it. There’s a multitude of reasons why I rarely go to yoga class. First and foremost, I’m cheap, especially when I feel like I’m paying for something that I could just as well do in the comfort of my own home for free. Not that I won’t spend all sorts of money on books about yoga and stuff. In fact, just last night I ordered The Shambhala Guide to Yoga by Georg Feuerstein. Right now I’m rereading Baron Baptiste’s Journey Into Power, Stephen Cope’s The Wisdom of Yoga, and Paramahansa Yogananda’s The Yoga of Jesus. (I’m a bit of a multi-tasker when it comes to books, which drives my wife batty). Thing is, I don’t mind buying yoga books because I know I’ll use them again. It’s just that somewhere in the back of my mind I’ve convinced myself that it’s ridiculous to pay someone to tell me how to do something I could teach myself from a book and do at home. The funny thing is that despite my sketchy belief that paying for yoga class is an unnecessary, superfluous expense, I remember quite vividly the handful of times I have attended class.
Well, these last few weeks I’ve been more diligent in my home asana practice. Although work has been a bit stressful, life is settling down and I’m figuring out my schedule. Right now I’m on a business trip in Dayton, Ohio, and I decided to pack my yoga mat so I didn’t get out of the habit. Hopefully I don’t offend anyone by saying this, but downtown Dayton leaves much to be desired as far as I can tell. However, yesterday in my exploration I happened upon a yoga studio about a block away from my hotel called Practice Yoga. When I walked past the studio it looked like it was closed so I hurried home to see if I could find out more about it. I came to find out that the studio opened about two weeks ago. After looking at the class schedule for a while, I came to the conclusion to attend the Ashtanga for beginners class the next day after my estate planning seminar ended. After making that decision, I spent most of today feeling nervous about what to expect in class.
Of course, type-A personality that I am, I showed up for class before anyone else. Instead of going in though, I waited across the street next to a lamp post until more people trickled in so I could sufficiently blend into the background. As I stood there waiting, I realized that I hadn’t been in a yoga studio in four years. When enough people seemed to have shown up, I finally crossed the street. The place was nice and uncluttered, with a few pictures on the walls. At the entrance there were a few chairs, a table with papers to read and sign, and cubicles for storing personal items. Kim, the yoga instructor, told me they lock the doors once class starts so everyone’s stuff would be safe. Anyhow, since the class was for beginners none of us milling around in the lobby really knew what to do next. Kim eventually herded us into the practice room and we unrolled our mats. Unfortunately, none of us really knew what to do once we had our mats out. Thankfully class started soon and the awkward moment passed of trying to figure out what to do. The class was really basic, which was fine with me. We went over Sun Salutations A and B and then did a few other poses from the Primary Series. As things started to heat up I thought to myself, maybe I don’t go to yoga class because I’m embarrassed by how much I sweat. I think I need to take a towel next time so I don’t slip so much. Hopefully I didn’t get any on anyone else. In the end, the class was great and I feel like I got a sweet deal for my ten dollars. I’m planning on going back on Thursday for a Primary Series class, and maybe even tomorrow at lunch if I have enough time.
In the final analysis, I’ve decided there’s something unique about attending an actual class that simply cannot be replicated in a solo practice. Home practice is great, but sweating away the day’s worries in a room full of people doing the same thing is an enriching and satisfying feeling that we should all take advantage of as often as possible.
The beauty is that people often come here for the stretch, and leave with a lot more. ~Liza Ciano (Co-owner and co-director of Yoga Vermont).