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Dear Diary: Centered City Yoga. Week #1 “Ooooooommmm.”

July 30, 2009

yoga_04

Place: Centered City Yoga

Location: 918 E. 900 S. Salt Lake City, Utah (801) 521-yoga (9642)

Well folks, this time we stopped into a yoga gym called Centered City Yoga (Best of the Beehive 2009 winner) in Sugar House to do our well loved “Dear Diary” segment.  Some of you may be wondering, “Well heck, why yoga?  That’s dumb.  Cantcha do somethin’ cool like mud wrestlin’ or beer can smashin’?  What’s s’great bout yoga?”  Oh just this: “Attaining enlightenment and liberation can be achieved through classic practices of meditation and yoga.  Research findings indicate that they are the most widely used of all therapies.  They have been shown to reduce anxiety, specific phobias, substance abuse; to benefit those with medical problems by reducing blood pressure and aiding in the management of chronic pain and so on; to enhance self-confidence, sense of control, marital satisfaction, and to extend longevity (Sue, 2003).”  Bam!  Good enough reason for ya?  That’s why!  In your face!

Here we go.  Week #1

Jesse:

Emotions I felt in connection with my first yoga class (not really first, but it has been a while since I have taken a Yoga class):

Happiness: for an awesome workout and a knowledgeable teacher who remembered my name when I introduced myself.

Discomfort: for the cool down section of the workout.  It was very relaxing but because it had been a while since I went to a Yoga class, I felt like I was getting hypnotized while listening to the teacher’s speech.

Resisting the urge to laugh: because of the gentle bell sounds and the “Ooooommmmm” we all chanted together while in Indian Style.  I apologize for not fully appreciating this part of the Yoga experience.  I very much respect how important the relaxation part is and I strive to explore this side of yoga more fully.

yoga_05I really enjoyed this class with Stephen.  It was titled Power 1 and 2.  I stretched out my shoulders more than I ever thought possible and Stephen was kind enough to come over and adjust my pose without laughing at me for trying the most advance pose instead of the intermediate pose I could actually only do.  (Hey at least I was trying.)  I did do the shoulder roll better than anyone else in the class – thanks entirely to dance.

I took another class taught by Stephen.  Yes, Stephen remembered my name from last class.  From a (previous) teacher’s perspective, I think that is pretty impressive.  I really enjoyed this class.  Although it was the same style, there was all new material.   It was very challenging.

What I love about Yoga is that even if you are a beginner you can still join a relatively advanced class and just do the modified moves.  I have to say I started this journey with the assumption that my dance background would probably give me an advantage over most normal humans (I mean I know I am more flexible than the average person, even though I am not more flexible than an active dancer);  I have already learned so much and worked out and sweated so much more than I ever thought I would.  Although… the sweating part could be contributed to the extreme heat in which this class takes place.  I’m trying to figure out if they do that on purpose ( to create a Bikram yoga-like feel where you turn the heat on and hot box it up to sweat your living guts out on purpose).  I know they want it relatively warm so that your muscles can stretch.

yoga_06I really liked Liz, the receptionist and another teacher there.  She was really friendly for offering her yoga mat after telling me that my cutely-designed Target mat was crappy.  I guess I need either a rubber one or a bio-degradable one? (So what is my crappy one made out of?)  I do love the studio.  I love the rustic natural feel.  The walls are original brick complete with urban window treatments.

When Stephen instructed us to perform a pose that involved us doing the splits, I was all excited because inside I was thinking, “Ah ha! I can do the splits… just watch me do the most advanced pose!” Stephen, very kindly, called me out for cheating my pose.  I was a little confused because I didn’t know what he was talking about.  Apparently dance splits (at least how I was taught) involve turning the back leg out so your knee is facing the wall.  Yoga splits involve keeping the back leg turned under so the knee is on the floor; therefore stretching your front hamstring as much as possible.  (Maybe that is why I never reached my full flexibility potential.)  If only I would have had Yoga to show me how I could have pushed myself farther when I was still actively dancing.  Of course this workout was completed with a Savasana in which we all were made to lay on our backs and listen to the sounds of Stephen’s voice and enlightening speech.  I don’t remember much.  I do know that the main gist is to step out of your default setting and out of the autopilot we are all on everyday of our lives and to experience something deeper.  I do remember him saying, “loosen your pelvis… soften the muscles there:  your generation organs and your termination organs…”  (So like generation as in my baby maker?  And termination as in my poop and pee?  Here is the immature side of me coming out, but seriously… softening either of those organs could be unfortunate in a public setting).

Noelyoga_03

Dear Diary:  Centered City at 9th S. & 9th E. is a legit yoga gym!  I walked in, walked up a few stairs-oh don’t forget to leave your shoes on the stairs-and welcome to the yoga gym.  People were nice.  Grab a yoga mat and get on in to class.

The more I learn about the psyche, the more I understand why a lot of psychologists and psychotherapists are into meditation and yoga.  From the outset you are to focus your attention on the here and now.  How do you do that?  In yoga class we sat Indian Style, sitting with good posture, and focused on our breath.  This basic form of meditation allows the body and nerves to relax and doesn’t allow the mind to wander very far.  Hence, work, bills, love on the rocks, and other worries seem to dissipate as you focus your attention on your breath and your breath is right now, present, and you can sense it.  Nerd Alert!  I know. I know. I know.  I just think it’s incredibly interesting that there’s reasonable reasons for yoga being a holistic workout; body, mind, spirit included.

The first class I went to was a Power class.  Power=difficult, strenous, sweat, great, pushing yourself, strength, balance, stretch, mindfulness, new limits.  This 90 minute class was intense and so great.  And a surprise at the end was Scott playing long, drawn-out, mellow notes on his saxaphone.  Aaaaaah.  So relaxed after a rough workout.

yoga_01Oh yeah, and if you think yoga is for weenies and hippies, think again m’friend.  Yoga is versatile enough to be easy and really relaxing and light enough even for a pregnant women (yes they offer prenatal and postnatal classes) like the Restore class that I went to but more often than not you’ll be sweating and struggling and in a fair amount of pain if you push yourself in these yoga classes.

Besides an increased peace of mind I’ve noticed when I do yoga regularly I seem to be able to run faster, run longer, jump higher, be more flexible, and funnier…maybe.

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