Yoga Tuesday!

It didn’t take too long for me to come down from the vacation-relaxed high. I’ve only been back from the beach for about 10 days, but my stress level has already creeped back up to the normal 10 or so. So tonight, I decided to do something a little different – and something I know I don’t do enough of. Yoga time.

My Mondays and Tuesdays are somewhat interchangeable, depending on what kind of workout I am looking to start my week out with. Last night, I ran 10k and did shoulders, so tonight, I was thinking easy(ish) cardio and weights – but since I’d stuck around after class on Sunday to get my arm workout of the way while the gym was pretty empty, today was somewhat up for grabs. I got to the gym in time to get about 40 minutes in on the ArcTrainer, then down to the studios I went.

The thing about yoga classes and me is that it can be hard for me to find one that I actually like. I’m not into the whole let’s sit and “om” or the let’s just stretch for an hour thing. So I was pretty happy to discover that tonight’s class was a power yoga class. Jen did not disappoint! The pace was brisk, the variety was good, and I’m thinking I may wake up feeling all those vinyasas in my chest tomorrow (YAY!)

Most of all, it gave me an opportunity to do something I desperately needed to do today – turn my brain off for a bit. I’ve kind of been in one of those “something has to give” periods as of late, so to take an hour for me, where I’m not looking rushing around, fighting for space, fretting about keeping my heart rate in the right zone … let’s say was exactly what I needed.

On another note … it’s kind of funny to take a class at the same club in which you are an instructor (and have been for a really long time). I think three different people – including the instructor teaching the class before me – asked if I was subbing tonight. Yes, we instructors take classes from others, too!

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Hot Yoga Saturday … I Think I Lost Five Pounds.

I think I lost 5 lbs. in the span of 75 minutes on Saturday morning … my first hot yoga class in probably five years. Last weekend, I got a massage at this new spa/yoga and Pilates studio near my apartment called Mind Your Body Oasis. The massage was AMAZING. I’ll definitely go back (when they have another special, because they are a little pricey). But onto the hot yoga…

I completely forgot exactly how HOT hot yoga is. I’m a sweater to begin with, so I was soaked within about three minutes. And kind of regretting the eight miles I ran earlier that morning within about 15. The thing I always loved about hot yoga in the past was the way it makes your muscles so much more pliable, which is definitely great for those of us, like myself, are pretty flexible to begin with. It kind of takes things to another level of flexibility. Also on the plus side? The class was only me and one other lady, so plenty of personal attention.

The one thing that I really didn’t like about it was that though it was listed as a Flow class, I didn’t really feel that it was like any of the other Flow classes that I’d done in the past. These are usually the ones I go for because I’m a big fan of the more athletic-based Power Yoga, and the way that you feel like you’re essentially doing pushups between every pose. Not the case with this class – we probably only went through a vinyasa two or three times. I missed the constant movement aspect. And, to be completely honest … I’m petrified of headstands. And we spent more time than I would have really liked on both headstands and handstands. The arm balances were kind of fun, though – I’m definitely not where I was with them when I was in my yoga phase years ago, but it is reassuring to know that muscle memory applies to this, too.

Overall, despite the fact that it wasn’t necessarily what I was hoping, it was still good to do something a little different. Since the studio is so close to home, I may check out another class sometime – they have a pretty extensive schedule, and a variety of styles, in both the heated studio, and what they call the Zen (the not hot) studio. It’s a little hard to find, but if you are ever in Crystal City and make it over to the Shops at 1750 (right near the metro station), it’s definitely worth checking out.

Pilates vs. Yoga: What’s the Difference?

“What is Pilates? Is it like yoga?”

This is, hands down, the number one question I get from people when I tell them that I teach Pilates. Both are considered “mind-body” exercises, and both can be mat-based. But that’s about where the similarities end.

To further break it down:

Remember, both Pilates and yoga are great compliments to any exercise routine. Anyone, young or old, already fit or trying to get there, can benefit from both of these fantastic exercises. So grab a mat and get started (remember, in your’re in the Northern Virginia/DC Metro area, you can always join me at XSport Fitness on Wednesday nights at 7:15 and Sunday mornings at 10:30)!

Surprise Yoga Class … I Have to Do This More Often.

I went through a yoga phase maybe four or five years ago. I was pretty consistent – at least twice a week. But then it seemed one thing or another always managed to stand in the way of it: I started teaching multiple classes a week. I started working with a trainer and became more focused on the strength training aspects. I just couldn’t find a good time to take a class, with an instructor that I actually liked.

So, this morning, I was wide awake at 6:30 (yup, let myself sleep in a whole 10 minutes past my weekday wake up time … wahoo). As I always start my Saturdays, I got out of bed, made a little breakfast, checked my email, and headed over to the gym. I had it in my head that today would be a running day, and I’d fit in some quick leg work while I was at it.

Now, having rolled out of bed an hour earlier than I typically do on Saturday mornings, I made it to the gym earlier than usual, too … by 9:30, I was hopping off of the treadmill, seven miles under my belt, and it hit me … I’ve been talking about getting back into yoga for what seems like forever (the last class I went to was January 22, the day after my 31st birthday, when I decided to stick around for the class scheduled after my Sunday morning cycling and Pilates classes … apparently I felt I had something to prove. Perhaps that I was still young?) And it just so happened that there was a class starting at 9:45. I decided to forgo the leg work that I really wasn’t in the mood for anyway, head down to the studio I myself teach in twice a week, and be a student for a change.

I have to admit, it was a little strange taking a class with some of my regular students – I almost felt like I HAD to perform, or that I had to live up to their expectations (what those expectations may have been, I have no idea. But it’s a mental thing). But there was something I’d forgotten, having not taken a yoga class in what feels like forever – just how great I feel by the end. I’m such a go-go-go type, that to take that one hour, to focus on myself, and to let out the tension that I build up each week – between my psychotic workouts, my full-time job, and the stress of being a 30-something who wants to have it all – it’s pretty awesome.

Now, all I need to do is see about making it a little more consistent again – because I definitely remembered this morning exactly what I love about yoga. And I’m sure I’ll be reminded again when I wake up tomorrow with the great shoulder soreness I know comes from all those vinyasas!