Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review: Bikram Yoga Express Class.

I've been inconsistent with yoga this year. During the fall, I was able to attend more than one class a month, and I was starting to feel the benefits. So far in 2015, I've only been to a few classes. But, as they say, it is what it is.

The Bikram studio that I frequent started offering an express class - a 60 minute class instead of the traditional 90 minutes. I love to practice Bikram, but there are challenges. Eating has been a hard thing to figure out for me - I like to give myself 3 or so hours after a meal before I practice, and that is hard to do for a non-morning person. My time is limited (whose isn't?) so a typical  class can feel like a strain on my day. And, I tend to feel sleepy and a bit spacey after class. I'm not sure if it is the heat or the time of day that I take class (either morning or late afternoon) that causes this.These aren't things that keep me from practicing, just items that I have to manage on the days I practice.

I went to my first class last week, and it helped me with a lot of these issues. The mid-day class gave me enough time to have my morning with my kids and then do errands or chores once they were off to school. I could breakfast like normal and still had time to digest. Plus, I still have a bit of time after class if I need to finish up any projects or tasks.

During the class, I had a lot of trouble keeping my mind in the room. I had overheard two of the instructors talking about teaching an express class and how to best manage the time. I ingested too much of what the one instructor said about how they organize their classes. I wish I hadn't. It kept me from experiencing and trusting my instructor. I wanted to think I knew what was coming next (hello, control issues!), and so when I had to repeat certain poses that I had anticipated being singular, I felt mental anguish, especially the ones that I don't enjoy! I wished so much that I could quiet my brain and simply experience the great class my instructor was giving me. She is an instructor I know and enjoy, and I didn't like feeling distracted by my expectations.

I also learned about trust. My overly-anxious mind kept me watching the clock, wondering how we would finish on time. Part of it was curiosity, but most of it is related to my tendency to second guess others. This is an issue that bleeds into a lot of areas in my life. I want to get better at letting things happen, trusting others expertise, and quieting my anxieties.

We have been learning about mindfulness (which is really just an easier-to-swallow word for meditation) at work. It has has extended my knowledge and understanding of meditation and the effect that our thoughts and feelings about stress have on our lives. This class and my mindset was a good example for me of my bad habits. I'm trying to break the cycle of anxiety caused from anticipation and overthinking. My old habits keep me from being in the moment and more fully experiencing what I am doing.

The class itself was a whirlwind. Here are some thoughts:

  •  I loved moving through the poses quickly. I didn't have time to dread either what I was doing, or what was coming next. 
  • When it came time for Camel, I found it less difficult emotionally. We did two sets, and I did both with a sense of surprise that they came so fast, and that they were so much easier than normal. I almost didn't hate the pose. Almost!
  • I liked that my feet didn't ache as much as they do in a 90 minute class. I get so distracted by them.
  • I tried to be thoughtful in the poses that were singular. I know a few of my bad habits now, thanks to receiving corrections for things I do wrong in the back strengthening poses. I put extra effort into them, which helped me feel that I got just as much back from doing them once as I would have doing them twice.
  • I left feeling every bit as challenged as I usually do, and just a bit less spent, which was very helpful to the rest of my day. I wasn't tired or groggy like I usually am, which my family appreciated.

I am sold on the express class. It is something I plan on incorporating into my weekly workout regimen. Also, the more I experience at Bikram West Jordan, the more I enjoy and appreciate the studio. Everyone is welcome and valued.  I hope that this class is successful and stays around permanently.