If you missed Part 1, it’s probably worth a quick catch up here.
When the alarm went off on Sunday, I opened my eyes and felt rested. Actual, proper rest. This literally never happens. I had the best night’s sleep I’d probably had in months. The fact that I could barely move my legs was neither here nor there! My muscles ached. Maybe more than ached. While I’d had a good sleep, the fact I was barely mobile made me wonder whether I would be able to do Day 2. Mentally, I’d considered phoning in sick.
Wait. What the?!
As I woke up properly, I realised that I was being completely stupid. No one would have noticed my uncanny resemblance to a piece of wood – they were probably all feeling reasonably similar (which was later confirmed when I got to the studio).
Driving through the fog, working out the best route and considering where to park, I felt I’d made the right decision. This was only further confirmed by the easy welcome when I stepped through the door. It felt good.
I set out my mat in the same place (total creature of habit) and we practised what we’d learnt the previous day. Despite thinking that my legs (which is where I had most of the soreness) were going to snap if I tried to bend them, the flow was much easier than I was expecting it to be.
After the sun salutations, Chris talked us through bandhas. During this part, I learnt I actually have lower stomach muscles. I cannot think of a time when I have ever felt them before. Not even after an abs class at the gym. Turns out that I probably very rarely used these muscles, as after a while of using them, I found they ached, and later in the day, I found sneezing quite painful.
This lead on to some balances. I think it is fair to say that my balance isn’t amazing. I’m not sure why, other than I can only imagine it is because I a) don’t concentrate enough, and b) don’t engage the muscles needed for balance all that often. It seemed that I wasn’t the only one having problems in this area. What probably made it worse for me was as soon as I saw the guy to my left start to wobble or move, I followed suit. If I couldn’t see him though, it was much better.
After lunch, Chris talked about establishing a home practice, and carving out a space, both physically to roll your mat out, but also in terms of your diary. Yoga is best done in the morning apparently, and some practice is better than none. With this in mind, I’m trying to suss out how to incorporate this into my life in a more suitable way.
Towards the end, the more adventurous amongst us got to play a bit with back bends and inversions. I was able to take part in the back bends, but the inversion (shoulder stand) was a bit beyond me. I think I may have smothered myself with my own chest if I had attempted the shoulder stand!
Day 2 was less physically intensive than Day 1, but it was more subtle. There was lots of good information throughout and I actually feel that I understand now that yoga isn’t just a relaxing activity to while away the time and get a good stretch. Don’t get me wrong, there is stretching, but it is also uplifting and stress busting, and inspiring and grounding, and there is so much more beyond just moving.
I absolutely would recommend the Ashtanga Yoga Workshop if anyone was in the market for an introduction to Ashtanga yoga. The studio is really lovely – clean, warm and with plenty of equipment, and the people are very friendly and welcoming. I plan to go back to the Mysore classes once I have established a home practice. I feel like I have learnt a lot, and I’m desperate not to lose my focus on it.
Lastly, I have a couple of tips if you do find yourself signed up to a yoga workshop:
- Get on the front row. I’m usually a back row kinda person, but I scooted forward to the front when I realised the second row had become the front row.
- Don’t think people are watching you. Firstly, they won’t be. They’ll be too busy trying to make sure that their arm/hand/foot/leg/gaze is in the right place to notice what you’re doing. Secondly, you’ll be so busy trying to make sure that your arm/hand/foot/leg/gaze is in the right place that you won’t notice if they’re watching. The only person that matters when it comes to watching you is the teacher, who might adjust you.
- Don’t think that all the participants are all going to be super-flexible, lithe athletes clad in Lululemon. I am living proof that this isn’t the case. We had a really good mix – from people like me, to an ironman athlete, to a yogi who had been practising for a year or so, to the stay-at-home mums who just seemed to want a bit of sanity back in their lives.
- It isn’t serious. Well, at least this workshop wasn’t. It was good fun, if not hard work sometimes. Bodily functions will happen. People will snore during savasana. Your top will probably ride up. You’ll probably get a giggling fit and collapse, and if you don’t, someone else will. It doesn’t have to be serious.
So, as I said, this wasn’t exactly a bucket list item for me, but it was something that I wanted to do, and I’m really glad I did it.
Do you have anything similar you’d like to have a go at?