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Yoga to the People

September 23, 2009
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Since moving to New York starting graduate school, there are few things I actually have for when I’m not reporting stories, researching stories, or pitching stories (noticing a trend here?). However, like they say, all work and no play makes for a dull journalist. So I decided to attend a yoga class.

Despite never having taken a yoga class before — well, one that I would count — I figured it would combine exercising, stress relief, and a good laugh (at myself). I looked up a few places that offered yoga classes in the city and I came across Yoga to the People. This particular class taught hot power vinyasa but I didn’t really know what that entailed. What I did know, though, was that it was cheap (only $5/class) and in the city. Also, what really drew me in was the mantra on their website that advertised an open environment for everyone.

Silly, silly rabbit. I should’ve known that by “everyone” they meant the skinny, flexible, and beautiful, and not the out-of-shape and baggy clothed. The teacher was friendly and inviting, but once I crossed the threshold (barefoot, might I add) I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. I’ll be honest, I went straight to the back. Starting off, my only saving grace was that I happened to already own a yoga mat, so upon first glance I didn’t seem so novice. However, once the class started, mat be damned, I was a yoga dunce.
Remember how I mentioned this particular class taught hot power yoga? It was then I realized what, exactly, that entailed. Not even five minutes into the stretches I began to sweat. “Hot” yoga literally meant the heat was cranked up during class. The heat supposedly cleanses the body of toxins & improves flexibility… Sure.

The session lasted an hour and we rotated between warrior pose, child’s pose, tree pose, chair pose, half moon pose… the list goes on and on. It was hard — very hard. At one point I considered quitting, especially after seeing that everyone around me seemed to be a yoga expert. But, miraculously I kept at it, and made it to the end, which made the previous 50 minutes all worth it. During the cool-down portion we laid in savasana pose (a restorative pose where you lie on your back and close your eyes) and meditated. After working so rigorously, it was a relief to lay still, and surprisingly easy to let my mind drift away from me. At one point I think I might’ve fallen asleep because it was so relaxing. Ten minutes later I sat up, feeling refreshed and invigorated.

I was glad I stuck it out, and as masochistic as it sounds, I plan on going back. I might not be the most advanced yogi (or even a yogi at all), but just like anything difficult, it’s always the benefits in the end that make it all worthwhile.

Let’s just hope I have that same mentality when it comes to j-school!

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