Yoga is officially my newest love. I used to be a hard-core gym bunny, as in 6-8 classes per week but more recently *coughs* I mean since my wedding I have been going to the gym a lot less, so much so that it made economical sense for me to cancel my membership. After a particularly trying period in my life a friend suggested me taking some yoga classes and I am so thankful she did.
I love the fact that it is not only good exercise but also helps massively with relaxation. The principles of yoga sit well with my quest for heightened spirituality, so on every level it gets a big thumbs up from me, and I am enjoying learning about the chakras, poses and the therapeutic benefits.
Bikram - This type gets hot, very hot. It involves doing a 26 posture, 90 minute yoga class in a room heated to around 100 Fahrenheit It sounds crazy right? Well it is, but it is also really bloody addictive. I have only done 4 classes and while I am doing them I feel like death but there is something that keeps me going back.
The heat adds a challenge all of its own and when you are a beginner the main goal is to just to stay in the room. I find it excellent for clearing the mind, there is no better way to forget everything than by being hotter than you have ever been before. Not to mention the detoxifying properties. I go to the Bikram Centre in Kilburn. If you are going to try it make sure you drink plenty of water beforehand and have some coconut water ready for when you finish the class. It is the best thing for rehydrating you quickly and starving off those nasty dehydration headaches.
Ashtanga - This type of yoga is dynamic and so is great for fitness levels and promoting a lean and toned body. The focus is still on breathing and by the end of a class I feel thoroughly stretched.
This weekend I went to the Alchemy Yoga Centre in Camden and had a fab time. It was like a spa day but full of yoga. It started with a breakfast of toasted granola and natural yoghurt along with a carrot, ginger and apple juice from the Alchemy Cafe. We did two classes, firstly the Art of Reiki, which I had heard of but never tried. It involved harnessing ones energy along with a deep relaxation mediation. I was so relaxed that I'm sure I fell asleep for some of it. It was interesting though and the instructor, Paolo, was a sweetheart.
The second class was Yoga Flow which was one of the best yoga classes I have ever done. Firstly the instructor, Clive, was playing some kind of reggae/dub yoga instrumental music, yeah I know we were surprised too! The class itself was a perfect mix of challenging and do-able, Clive made sure everyone was correctly aligned throughout and he was full of encouraging words. I liked the way he talked about enjoying the journey of practising your poses rather than trying to rush for perfection.
After reading about the #21DayYogaChallenge on Girl Does Geek this evening, I am now all signed up and looking forward to starting a daily practice of breathing, stretching and meditation which will be delivered to my inbox every morning!
Here's to the new Zen like version of me... : )