28 Yoga Challenge – I did it!

28 Classes in 28 Days. Despite 2 snow days where the studio was closed, a day off to snowshoe, a busy month at work, a minor car accident (which derailed my plans for a few days) and a couple other days where I just needed a break – I did it! There is power in a goal!

Why did I take on the challenge? To break out of the winter blahs. To get some much-needed exercise (when I get busy at work that is often the first thing to go for me). To practice more yoga and find some zen in my frantic schedule. Why not!

What have I accomplished? I feel stronger. I have tried most of the classes my studio offers. I have made some new friends. I have renewed my passion for my yoga practice.

I have gone to the Yoga Co-op for about a year and have really enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere, the variety of classes and the convenient location. In the last month I have really gotten a chance to get to know the classes and the teachers. The following is my own summary of the classes and what I have learned this month. I am not a yoga teacher or professional or yoga expert of any sort so please reach out to the Co-op if you want to learn more about their classes (or even better come check one out), do your own research to learn more and at all times respect your own body and work within your own limit!

Weekend Warrior

This is one of the harder classes of the week. It is Saturday morning at 9:30am. Vanessa (who usually teaches) was one of my first yoga teachers in Saint John when I moved here over 10 years ago and she taught the first class I took at the Co-op. It is flow based, will involve lots of movement and is meant to flow energy to and through your body. I love this class because it feels athletic and I always come away energized, feeling strong and ready to conquer something big.

Flex Flow Balance

This class is one of my favourites. It is a flow based class that will get you moving and make you feel strong and capable.

Hatha

Hatha is by nature a more stable class. It is more about moving into a posture and holding it for a period of time, not a really long time but long enough that you build strength and balance. A yoga posture is called an Asana and Hatha is all about learning and practicing Asanas. The class is usually taught by Lee and I still remember my first class with Lee. I remember thinking it would be easy because it is not a fast-paced flow. Wow was I wrong. I think that Hatha is many ways has become my favorite class – it takes a lot of strength, flexibility, focus and breathing to hold poses correctly through the class!

Yin

Yin yoga is all about getting deep into the connective tissues and fascia which intertwine your muscles and hold everything together, it is achieved by holding poses for longer periods of time and by relaxing your muscles. It is not about building strength. I find Yin to be one of the hardest classes because you hold the poses for a long period of time (3 to 5 minutes minimum). You spend a lot of time in your head and with your breath. Which means a lot of time thinking of things and bringing your focus back to the practice.

This class is taught by Valerie and she is very calm and guides the class well. As you can imagine it is hard to stay in a pose for more than 5 minutes so her gentle conversation about the purpose of the poses and fashia and other topics helps to keep your mind from drifting off to making your grocery list 🙂

Gentle Flow and Restore

The class is slower and will usually give you a chance to rest and recover from some of the more challenging flow based classes. Jackie has lots restorative training and although she always throws some good flow elements in at the beginning always brings balance and relaxation to my practice. It always involves some restorative poses (below is an inversion called legs up the wall which is one of my new favourites and staples at home).

Beyond Basics

I only went to this class once. I thought it would be an expansion on the Intro to yoga and  honestly by 7pm I am ready for bed not class. If you are looking for a later class though this is what the class is for and (from my very brief exposure) you probably won’t know in advance what it will be but honestly I haven’t met a class yet I don’t like!

Yoga Re-balance

This class is currently held on Sundays at 11am. The class is usually taught by Megan and I had thought it was going to be an easier class, in fact Ingrid came with me the first time I went and we both thought it was pretty reasonable… The next time it was very flow based and I came away with rubbery legs. I would say this class is a wild card and will depend on how well Megan sleeps (as she puts it – if I don’t skeep well the class with be harder…) In either event Megan is great and although you won’t know what the class will be it will be a good one!

The Co-op also offer an Intro to Yoga special session which is meant to start beginners off with the basics, a class called next steps which is meant to expand on the Intro to Yoga Program and also a Prenatal program. I haven’t tried any of these classes but I have to believe they are as great as the others and a perfect spot for beginners who want to learn some of the basics in a safe and welcoming environment.

 

Thank you to all of the teachers who were such good sports to take these pictures with me. A shout out to Megan, Valerie and Pippa who were lucky enough to be spared a photo in the very funny gallery f smiley pictures. Pippa took her teacher training in Barcelona and has a lot of Vinyasa training – with a smile on her face she can make most poses look SO easy – even the Warrior 3 cat/cow. Megan is quiet and so sweet. She is also sneaky – she can run one of the toughest classes – all with this smile on her face that makes you miss the fact that your legs will be rubbery the next day.

 

Next step? Yoga teacher training? Don’t worry Lindsay I don’t think I’ll be headed to Bali any time soon. That being said I’ve added teacher training to my bucket list. I don’t really want to be a teacher (maybe when I’m a bit older and can finally let my hair go white and streak it purple) but I do want to deepen my knowledge and practice so why not add it to the bucket list. Stay Tuned!

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