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Hitting the snooze button at 6:07 am then getting up to do a quick shower and a 7am yoga class followed by a trail run at Lands End thereafter.  Found myself getting sleepy at dinner last night which I thought was a good sign so I can start these weekday morning yoga rituals and follow up with a trail run if I have the time before work.  I still didn’t tweet myself to sleep until after 1am but I still woke feeling more active than lethargic.

Parked the car in the the underground structure at Gold’s Castro and arrived at the Group X Studio just 5 minutes before class started.  The instructor, Ben Yokoyama, recognizing I was new to his class, came over to check in with my practice and to inquire if I had any injuries.  This always pleases me, being acknowledged.  There were only 4 other practitioners in class and none of the regulars from Sunrise Yoga on Tuesdays or Thursdays.  Ben explained how over the Holidays, this being Valentines and the Chinese or Lunar New Year and today being President’s Day, we do have a tendency to over do the partying so he focused on a practice that emphasized detoxification.

Ben didn’t start the class with an Ohm, and I was wondering if I was in a Christian Practice.  Ben was very thorough in his explanation of the poses and although his style is different from Anita or my regular Men’s Naked Yoga practice I could appreciate his investment.  The flow was mellow and focused on balance and twists.  I found myself responding quite well to his instruction, never once encountering the panicked body that confronted me yesterday in Maria Stanford’s packed Sunday Vinyasa class.  I think maybe the upheaval yesterday may have prepared me for it, but really I think it was because Ben explained clearly the intent of the practice rather than throwing in an intensity that I wasn’t prepared for.

Another focal point of Ben’s instruction was the focus on pranayama or breath work.  One thing I notice not only in yoga practice but in real life is that sometimes I restrain my breath and breathe very shallowly.  I intuitively feel that it has something to do with fear and is symptomatic of this anxiety.  I appreciated getting in touch with pranayama to help me get in touch with the bases of my restrictions.

As always, in the beginning of the class wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but time flowed and I emerged in no time.  To finish Ben invited us to Ohm if we wanted to.  I always do.  I feel  very good about my choice to do yoga at the gym and I can see how incorporating this routine as a daily practice will benefit me not only in my trail running but also in my professional life and my interactions with friends and loved ones.

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