Halfway! June 30-Day Yoga Challenge

Remember back at the end of May when I said that I was going to do a personal 30-day yoga challenge in June? I took on this challenge to reinvigorate my non-restorative yoga teaching and also to be more diligent/form a habit/etc. So far, it’s been a treat to experience the teaching of so many different yoga teachers in D.C.

Here’s the midpoint update.

Get out your magnifying glasses (or click to enlarge).

I haven’t yet gone to today’s class, but here’s my progress so far: 5 different studios, 6 new-to-me classes, and 6 new-to-me instructors. I used the “I taught” save once, the first Sunday. Which is really okay because earlier in the day, I ran the North Face Endurance Challenge 10K. How many other people ran a trail race and then taught yoga in the afternoon? My point exactly.

The studios that I hit: Flow (the first studio where I was ever a regular), Tranquil Space, Quiet Mind (where I regularly teach restorative yoga and taught the community class the first Sunday of the month), Unity Woods (for Iyengar junkies), and Yoga District (where I also teach). Classes that I attended: yoga 1, flow 1.5, morning prana flow 1.5-2, level II Iyengar, morning on-the-go, yin, Sivananda, and prenatal. Inhale. Exhale. Whew.

Highlights from the first half of the month: 

Prenatal yoga. No, I’m not pregnant. This was for edifying purposes, and WOW, prenatal yoga done right is the most nurturing experience EVER. Heck, my back’s so sore right now that I kind of want to go to a prenatal class.

I didn’t want my presence to make any of the prenatal students uncomfortable or more difficult for the instructor to focus on the moms to be, so I spoke with the instructor and her assistant before class, explaining to them that no, I’m not pregnant, but I’m a teacher, and — Susanna cut me off. “Yes,” she said emphatically. And that was that. What followed was 75 minutes of slow flow, strength building, partner yoga, and restorative poses. 
A couple months ago, a woman just starting her third-trimester came into my all-levels yoga class. I didn’t freak out, but my prenatal training was limited to the information imparted in the non-specialized 200-hour yoga teacher training. Taking the prenatal class affirmed that the poses and sequences I’d been teaching in the all-levels class were appropriate for pregnancy. Phew. I also learned more about the range of issues that can arise for even a healthy woman during pregnancy.
Sivananda. This was my first Sivananda class ever, and it was different, in a good way. Traditionally, the practice is done with the eyes closed to avoid external distractions. The practice consists of breathing exercises, sun salutations, and a sequence of 12 basic poses, including savasana (a supine resting pose), with savasana in between each pose, too. And, we began class in savasana, too. It was a savasana club sandwich. But yet, I didn’t feel restful, even in the final relaxation.

After the opening breathing exercises, I began my sun salutations with my eyes closed. My mind raced: Is my right foot making it in between my hands for a lunge? Is my left foot meeting the right in a forward fold? I cheated in the first down dog. I adjusted my feet and stared at my navel.

We didn’t go exactly in standard order of the 12 poses: we saved  shoulderstand and fish pose for the latter half of the sequence, and the instructor added in a few leg lifts. I opened my eyes to set up a few poses in the practice…crow and headstand. Most of the time, I was thinking of those restaurants where they blindfold you so you can’t see what you’re eating, and your other senses get amplified. For sure, my sense of balance was amplified. I felt crooked half the time.

Iyengar. I LOVE my Iyengar classes. At my first class ever several years ago, I was taken aback by how precise my teacher directed my prop positioning. Now, I’ve practically got a Ph.D. in blanket folding.

These days, I’m working on my upper back and shoulders, both of which are ridiculously inflexible. In both ways. It doesn’t like curving too much forward (a good thing), nor does it like bending backwards. And my yoga teacher noticed this and has me targeting that area. So, on Tuesdays, I walk around like there’s a board on my back because the muscles are crazy sore.  Oddly, I like it.

More tales from the 30-day Yoga Challenge to come…