‘Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.’

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Day One:

Quite scared as I didn’t know what I was getting into.

Arrived early to find two ladies waiting outside for the instructors, for one of them it was their first class too and she just started talking to me. This always throws me because it’s not that I’m not friendly but it just always throws me when people are overly friendly. The two instructors arrived shortly after. I know them by sight only, from perusing the website when first thinking about signing up. Yulia Heaton & Chris Croft. Both founders of the yoga studio. Chris would be our teacher.

We went in and immediately were told to take off our shoes. I filled out a basic form about health issues, etc. Also, I did one last nervous pee. There was five of us. All women. I expect this is a common occurrence. We all sat nervously in the waiting area in various seats. Chris introduced himself & talked us through Mysore Yoga practise. Just the basic ideas. It’s a solo practise. It’s not a ‘guided’ or ‘led’ class. Everyone comes and does the sequence at their own pace but with help & adjustments from the teacher. We will learn the foundation poses of the Ashtanga Yoga primary series in the traditional way (i.e. one-on-one and pose-by-pose). This will be done slowly. There will be homework which is up to us to do. We don’t have to practise everyday but if we want to improve or see improvements it would be best to do it at least three times a week. As Chris says, ‘If you have time for social media than you have time for yoga!’

We begin by learning to breathe properly or in a way that we will do so in our practise. This involves opening our throats and breathing out making a sound I can only describe as almost gargling/choking. We are than told to shut our mouths and make that same sound whilst only breathing in and out through our nose. This is what we will be doing through out our practise. In and out through our nose. Unless of course you have a cold or hay fever like one of the women in our group. I guess you could call it an exception.

After we were led into the practise room where there were already experienced ‘yogis’ doing their thing. The five of us laid out our mats, half with excitement and half with trepidation. We began sitting cross legged (on blocks) and practising breathing in and out of our noses. We were to do this ten times. Each inhale and exhale counts as one. Than we got up and stood at the top of our mats and joined everyone in a chant. We were supposed to follow what Chris was saying but I think most of the newbies just mumbled along, not really sure what to think. I got the distinct  impression that we were all thinking ‘WTF?’ at the same time but just got on with it. Not being a very spiritual person I always find these kind of things awkward. I feel like I need to be more spiritual.

After, Chris began to take us through Sun Salutation A. Every inhale and exhale must correspond to a movement. This is quite difficult for me. It’s kinda like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time. My brain struggled to compute. But by the fourth time of doing it was I was slightly getting the hang of it. Still needs a lot more work. Also, I’d forgotten about the wrist thing. Who knew that yoga needed so much wrist strength? My wrists were aching and we were nowhere near done.

We than moved onto Sun Salutation B. Now the movements weren’t so difficult but again matching inhales and exhales with movements did my brain in. Even by the end I was still confused and wondering if I was doing it right. He reminded us that we don’t need to rush and if we lose it, just wait for the next breath to come and continue. This made me feel slightly better.

We finished by sitting on our blocks crossed legged again, practising breathing before laying in corpse pose. This involved 10 minutes of trying to forget where we were and go into some other consciousness. Hard for most people living in the modern world! I tried to keep my thoughts at bay put probably at least once thought about dinner or that my new tattoo was itchy. Ah well… This is only the beginning. So our homework was to practise five of each of Sun Salutation A and B. I will attempt this at least three times this week after googling ‘Should my wrists hurt during yoga practise?’ and ‘How to prevent sweaty palms causing slippage during downward dog!’

 

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