Lots of natural light, mirrors, and a beautiful mural on the wall make the yoga room at BKB Somerville one of my favorite places. Nestled in a corner, away from all the activity happening on the floor, I sometimes find myself in there, sitting, and taking a moment to breathe. So, after the last few weeks of hardcore activity, I was really looking forward to taking a nice, peaceful yoga class to see how being active felt inside the room. And, besides, as everyone knows, yoga is all about stretching, heavy exhales, tea tree oil, and fancy, strappy sports bras. (Right? Right???)
Well, while I was not necessarily wrong in painting that picture, (there were some awesome sports bras in that room, lemme tell you) what one might forget is that when yoga is done with power and intention, it also provides you with one heck of a workout.
Such was the case when I took instructor Laura Loewy’s* Open Level Yoga class.
Her classes are based around the phases of the moon, and while I don’t know much about the moon phases, I quickly realized this particular moon phase must have something to do with DESTROYING YOUR LEG MUSCLES FOR DAYS. Which is basically what happened (but it was awesome and you’ll find out why). We did lunges, squats, planks, and, my personal favorite, chair pose. (Disclaimer: chair pose is NOT my personal favorite.)
I know what you’re thinking.
“Abby, It’s just like sitting in a chair only… without the chair. Don’t you, basically, sit all day? What’s the big deal??”
While I get why you might feel that way, think about that for a sec. There’s no seat to rest your butt under. There’s just you and your thighs and a slow burn that gets more and more intense the longer you hold it. So, I’m awkwardly squatting there and my thighs are burning like two hot dog buns on a smoking grill. AND then Laura, bless her heart, is all “sink deeper” and I was like:
NO WAY IN HECK I’M SINKING DEEPER, GIRL!
But, I tried it and…suddenly…I felt this burn start to radiate throughout my body. And, then, I started to feel my mind become so… quiet. It was just me, my burning thighs, and my breath. I realized this is real yoga. Not sports bras, or crystals, or fancy oils.
Just me, my breath, and my body.
For the following three days I could barely walk, but each time I used those sore, thigh muscles, that feeling of zen came back, for just a moment, and reminded me of that clear space I found when in chair pose.
With all the craziness happening in the world and in our lives right now, it’s so important to recognize and relish in these moments of pure clarity and connection. It made me feel grateful that I have access to a place that can provide this for me and others.
*Laura is a really cool yogi who also bring yoga classes outdoors into nature through her own company, Backcountry Yoga.
Next Week: I take a personal training consultation!
Last Week: Climbing