More Adventures in Hot Yoga

If you move beyond gym yoga into studio yoga, one of the things you might find interesting is the different personalities of the yoga studios.  While gym yoga is pretty homogenous, studio yoga can be as varied as colors of paint at the hardware store.

A couple of months ago, I discovered Gaia Flow Yoga. One of the things I like about the studio is that they structure their classes in timeslots--so if you find a timeslot that works for you, you can take classes every day. (And they encourage that to get the full benefit.)

Not only that, but their classes--while sequenced well--are also designed to be challenging (beyond the fact that it is 95 degrees in the studio.)  I'm finding that this is the perfect "next step" for me in developing my yoga practice.

One of the things that has surprised me about the shift in studios is what discovering my limitations--and attempting to move past them--does for me mentally. I've become much more aware of how sleep, eating, and the water I drink affect me physically.  The other big factors are focus and breathing.  When I am having to work that hard to hold a pose, suddenly focus and breathing really matter. There is no margin to get sloppy with it.

But maybe one of the most interesting discoveries in the process is the adventure in acceptance.  Realize that in my head, I'm still 20 years old; yet in the mirrors at the studio, I'm clearly mid-40's. And I can't move as effortlessly (nor do I look nearly as fantastic in the mornings) as the 20-somethings that are drawn to this style of yoga.  Yoga is a very personal discipline.  And being able to appreciate my own progress and allowing myself to improve through surrender rather than striving have been new concepts for me. (Ones I didn't even know I needed to learn.)

Perhaps one of my favorite things about yoga is that there are continually new places to go.  You never stop learning.  It really is an adventure.

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Maira Gall