Monday, May 4, 2015

A not-super-fit looking yoga teacher may have solved all your problems

Friday, I ventured back to yoga for the first time in two years.
Way back when, yoga and I didn’t have a casual relationship.
I joined Pure Yoga (membership based = unlimited classes) and approached yoga the way I do all things- obsessively. I swung toward hot yoga, sweat buckets and was even known to frontload my yoga with a run. I enjoyed the yoga, the music, the dark-ish room and eventually could bind and contort into some of the more difficult poses. However, this was not a mind/body journey for me. It was a body, body journey where I tracked by progress versus the yogi aficionados in the room and looked for physical evidence of yoga strengthening me. Simply put I didn’t get it. I questioned if I was sweating more than strengthening and defected back to barre classes as soon as they were offered.

Recently (some of you have commented on my posts) I have been more aware of my need for “mind” work. I always suggest it for others and believe in it. And one can only give so much money to the prepaid fitness pot before you feel like a total idiot. So I went back to Pure to one of their basics class last week. It was me, a bunch of ladies my mother’s age and a few inflexible men. It felt perfectly unintimidating but still I still dragged my bolster and blocks to the very back of the room.

In walks the instructor. If you’ve read my posts you know I judge. I don’t judge everyone but I judge fitness professionals. I like aspirational and if that means my “mind” needs more work I’ll tell my gorgeous (yup) therapist. This instructor didn’t inspire me physically BUT when she opened her mouth and addressed the class, she had me. Not a minute in, she mentioned something called Svadhyaya. I typed a misspelled version of this word into my phone (that was supposed to be in my cubby but…). Svadhyaya means self study.

We were told we’d be given suggestions and modifications but that we had to see where our bodies were. We knew best. As someone who doles out advice and loves receiving advice I know this is the case. I love when I make a suggestion and a client says, “that’s not going to work” whether it’s because they know themselves or have a gauge on a situation they’ll be in. One client last week told me he does better when he sets goals versus when they come from me. And one of our Summer Squeeze participants clarified “I can't whip out anything BYO in today's  work environment” on a business trip with the head of her company (I had suggested she BYOsnacks).

Chances are you know your body, psyche and tendencies better than any expert. So while we still need preofessionals (and FOODTRAINERS) any wellness effort should be collaborative and personalized.
Where are you on the mind/body spectrum? Do you do yoga, meditate or anything else? What do you think of Svadhyaya or self study? 


  1. I'm glad that you went back! Yoga had wonderful benefits for me until I injured my shoulder(unrelated) and I had to give it up. I was just debating to attempt it again. You will find peace in yoga, continue to go. :)

  2. I'm like you in that, if I'm going to exercise then it better be sweaty and high difficulty. I do yoga a lot, but it's Bikram all the way. I do, however, try to follow all the rules in there (and they are big on rules AND on following them). One of the rules is to try to tune out everything else and focus on yourself and be in the moment. Not thinking about what's coming next, or the grocery shopping you need to do later. And I really do come out feeling better than when I went in, every time. Also it's a really good cardio workout, while standing mostly in one spot.

  3. Similar to you, I returned to yoga this year after quite a few months away. I was only in yoga for the sweat. This year, I am only taking restorative classes and they have been SO SO good for the soul!

  4. I'm so with you, what I used to see as 'not worth it" is what I seek out now.

  5. don't distract me! Ha, I see that difficult and "present' can coexist but I kind of need to work on the tuning out more than sweating...for now.

  6. I trust you ayala, you seem to know way more about peace than I do. I need to focus more here.