New Year, New Yoga

I don’t usually commit myself to New Year’s Resolutions. It’s far too easy to give up on them and ultimately disappoint yourself. But I am committed to trying new things, and something I’d been wanting to try for quite some time (therefore I’m not calling it a resolution) – was to take my daughter to yoga class.

Yoga class

Shannon gave up taking ballet classes a year ago after nine years of study, and though she has gym class everyday in high school and we regularly take walks or bike rides together, she didn’t really have any physical activity that she could continue as an adult. She does not play soccer or other sports, and trust me when I say she is not likely to join a gym anytime soon. Actually, never. Ever. Given her ballet background, I figured that Yoga would be intuitive for her, perhaps help her deal with the stress of high school, and maybe it would be something she would like to continue practicing.

Swan Lake Annie and Shannon

My own exercise habits have included various types of yoga and Pilates classes over the years, and I took Jazzercise regularly for quite some time before I had kids, but I am admittedly gym-phobic and prefer getting outdoors for walks or bike rides in the fresh air. I enjoyed yoga class, but with my background as a professional dancer, I have always struggled mentally with some aspects of it – that you’re not supposed to be “perfect”, the pace of the class could feel too slow, and I still find that the chanting of the word “ohm” makes me want to collapse into hysterical giggling. Seriously.

That being said, the mid 40-something-year-old me really understands (and enjoys!) the benefits of yoga, including the eye pillows (most amazing invention ever), the focus on just breathing in and out, and not being worried about breaking a hip or injuring myself by overdoing it. If you can’t hold the pose, just put your leg down. No one is judging you.

After I got Shannon’s approving shrug of: “Ok, I’ll try it…” I went about getting us introductory passes to a new local yoga studio. On a cold Saturday in January, we set off armed with our mats and comfy pants. The class was packed, (I mean, really PACKED! Darn those new year’s resolutions…) but Shannon did very well. The teacher was amazed and impressed that she had never done yoga before – let alone two inches from other mats and people. Ballet training reigns supreme again!

Yoga class 2

We attended a few beginner classes, then I got ambitious and signed us up for a “flow” class, which indicated that it was for mixed levels. I was sure that Shannon could modify anything that was too difficult for her. The minute we walked in, I could sense that the energy in the room was different. There were some serious yogis in there, not much talking going on. Let’s just say that the class moved….uh, quickly. We kept up, but there was a moment towards the end where we were going into the “Lizard Pose”, and I admit I felt a little desperate. I glanced over at Shannon, and there she was, doing a perfect job of being a lizard. Great. I literally couldn’t even get my forearms on the floor, and was awkwardly trying to maneuver these blocks (that are supposed to help you) – underneath my arms without falling over. Beads of sweat dripped onto my mat.Lizard-pose

We limped out of that class (though we were not admitting that we were limping…) got outside and promptly said: “Let’s go get pizza!” Followed by hearty laughter. Then, over dripping mozzarella cheese, we  decided that we should probably stick to the beginner “roots” classes for a bit longer, you know, so that we could walk the next day.

We have now finished our introductory class period, and I’m happy to say that we are going to stay with it. As I searched through the schedule, I asked Shannon if she wanted to try the “Teen class”. She responded without hesitation: “No way, too judgmental.” OK.  I then discovered a class called “Restorative Yoga”.  Shannon has mid-term exams this week, so I said, “I found this class where the description says you lie down in various poses on the floor in the dark. How does that sound?” She called from the couch: “PERFECT!!”

Restorative yoga

I think there’s a good chance that she will stick with this for awhile.

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