Power yoga kicked my butt


Sometimes humility is a necessary part of yoga. Sometimes it requires a simple power yoga class to set you straight about your body. I recently had my first power yoga class in a couple of years, and it wiped me out.

I’ve been doing yoga on and off for four years, and a little bit more on in the last year and a half (except for a couple of months each around the birth of my children). My first yoga experience was with Hittleman’s ??28 Day Yoga Program?? which I faithfully did for about 60 days and then set aside for a bit because of the stress of finding and beginning a real job. (I should have kept it going…but that’s in the past.) A couple months later, I took my first class opposite my wife’s prenatal yoga class. This was power flow class, which is like an ashtanga class except the instructor chooses the order of the poses. That first class wiped me out, but I was so high at the end of that class I thought I had smoked something.

When I went back the following week, the teacher was shocked to see me. She apparently thought I had seen enough and never wanted to go back. However, I stayed with that class for a few months. The teacher did eventually leave, and another took over. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this teacher was heavily influenced by the “Anusara”:http://www.anusara.com school, but she still kept a lot of the power flow structure — lots of sun salutations with lots of warriors and standing poses in the first 45 minutes or so, although as time went on it became more like an Anusara class.

For the last year and a half, I’ve been attending almost exclusively Anusara yoga classes. Today, however, I went back to a power flow class and it was almost like my first yoga class experience. By the fifth sun salutation I was sweating up a storm and forming a lake at the top of my mat, and by the third or so warrior lunge my thighs were protesting mightily. Then we did some rather deadly sequences. Warrior I, Warrior II, Side Angle, Revolved Side Angle, Bound Side Angle, Vasisthasana thrown in there somewhere, Chair (Powerful), Revolved Chair. Guaranteed to make the thighs burn mightily. Tapas indeed. Then follow that with an Eagle, Warrior III, Half Moon Balance, Revolved Half Moon Balance. All with vinyasas thrown in between them.

Then backbends. One after the other. Camel, Wheel, Shoulderstand sequence followed by fish, abdominal workout.

Very nice. Of course, the whole way through I was thinking about opening to grace (following the breath) and my hip and shoulder loops. But once we got going it was pretty hard to keep on top of those. Definitely something to work on. I was happy about being able to keep, or at least return to, my breath, and that may be what got me through the practice.

There was one other funny incident. At one point, we were sitting on our heels (Vajrasana). The teacher mentioned that the pose was good for counteracting the action of high heels. She then looked straight at me. I looked around, and noticed that I was the only male in the class.

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