Friday, December 4, 2009

Back to the mat

I used to have a kickass yoga practice.

During one of the hardest and most confusing periods of my life, I'd get up early most mornings and drive a few minutes down the road to this studio, what I had come to think of as my studio, and ease into my day with deep breathing, intense stretching, and heavy sweating. In August 2007, I completed 30 classes in 30 days, and had never felt better about myself.

In May 2008, I moved to upstate New York. The middle of nowhere, it seemed to me at the time. Although the space and quiet were likely good for my head, I desperately missed having a convenient studio. I practiced the Bikram series on my own, intermittently. I did a Rodney Yee video or two, but was unfulfilled. I went to one class at one of the closest studios, Satya Yoga, in Rhinebeck, and could justify neither the half-hour drive there nor the expense for class (I had been on a work-study trade program back in Utah).

In November of that year, I had moved into a new apartment with a fabulous guy and my crazy dog. I planned for days to go to a Bikram class on Thanksgiving at the nearest studio—45 minutes away. Despite some food poisoning the night before, I showed up with a happy, smiling face at 9 a.m. Despite not being in a hot room for more than six months, it was one of the best classes of my life. I dedicated that class to my teachers in Utah: Jackie, Alex, Julie, McKell, Sarah, Andrea, Rebecca, Lisa, Terese, both Brandys, Julia, Jamie, and my superduper good friend, Judy. Without that studio offering me a safe place to work through "the issues in my tissues," I'd never have made it to New York.

I went back to the Yorktown studio for one class, and the teacher had just returned from being certified at training in Acapulco. There, she met Marc, a man I had practiced with and become friends with in Utah. It was so cool to have this connection to a place that had so unexpectedly become "home." Again, though, I couldn't handle the long drive and big fee for classes.

I went a couple of times here, the nearest "hot yoga" studio, and it was okay, but I just wanted to find a really good, hot, Bikram class, for a good price, with cool people. Picky, picky me.

I read about Yoga Today in some healthy-women's magazine, or maybe I feel down the rabbit hole that is the internet and clicked through 17 sites to get to it. At the time, the site offered a rotating library of 10 to 15 free, hourlong yoga classes from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The classes really resonated with me because they're taught by real people, with real students, and they goof a little bit and make corrections, and there's audio problems sometimes, and they take it all in stride. The hyperproduced Gaiam videos, although in beautiful settings with ostensibly calming music, never really worked for me. These free classes, with entertaining people, were so engaging that I got back into a semiregular practice through the Springs and Summer of ’09.

Then I got a job (my dream job, really) that keeps me out of the house from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. I'm still trying to negotiate a routine.

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