My First Class
My first experience with yoga was terrible, I hated it. It was in a very small town, in a class with women that were all 40+ years older than me. It was the SLOWEST moving class of all time, picture 3 minutes just to get into a cross-legged pose. Ugh.
So naturally I said I’d never do yoga again. I’ve found in my life, anytime I say I’ll never do something… down the road I end up usually loving that very same thing or getting very involved with it.
10 Years Later...
I’m starting my business in Highland Park and I see the Core Power Yoga across the street and decide to give it another try.
Class 2: At the front desk I met who would later be one of my favorite Yoga teachers, Amelia. She was so kind and helpful getting me set up for class. During the class, the room was hot (which I love), the music flowed so well with the class and as my muscles shook all the way through; I realized I LOVE yoga.
Why have I not been doing yoga my whole life?! It feels like a blend of music, dance, movement, core strength and inversions (going upside down): all things I really enjoy.
I went to many classes that first month and then another one of my favorite yoga teachers, Lauren, told me “Ali, you’ve been really good about getting to your mat and look like you’re enjoying class, you should think about taking teaching training.” I thought about it a bit and thought … yea maybe she’s right. I went through teacher training, then immediately signed up for a second training, and then was ready to share yoga with others.
Yoga & Me Today
I teach yoga at many locations, at several corporations on-site, often during their lunch breaks and I teach at the Eden Prairie Community Center. I have taught chair yoga, kids yoga, yoga for the Eden Prairie girls hockey team, yoga at a firehouse with firefighters, in a warehouse at a company, in studios, outdoors by the lake, in my condo, you really can do it anywhere.
Is Yoga For You?
When people hear I am a yoga teacher they most often say “I could never do yoga,” quickly followed by “I’m not flexible,” or “I have terrible balance.”
Ironically, these are the people that most need yoga. To start doing yoga: you don’t have to be flexible, you can have terrible balance, and you don’t have to have a great core. Yoga will help you attain all of these things.
At my office, I give almost every patient that comes in yoga exercises to do at home. Just a few, relating to their specific reason for coming to the office. It helps them strengthen and balance muscles, helps their treatment last longer, and gives them something to work on at home.
Here are some reasons you (yes you!) should do yoga:
- Focus on breath: every form of yoga has some focus on breath. Something we often don’t think about but can have a huge impact on your health. Take a deep breath right now, what happened? Did you shoulders go up? Or did your belly go out? If your shoulders went up, you’re getting much less benefits than if your belly went out.
- Benefits of diaphragmatic breathing here and how to do it!
- Moving through different planes: Studies have started to come out showing that going to the gym and just working on machines (in one plane) isn’t actually benefiting your health that much. We need to be moving around more like kids: doing things like yoga, climbing, dancing, swimming. Moving through all 3 planes, and having variety in our workouts!
- Gaining more flexibility: When you do some exercise that focuses on flexibility, you are less likely to get injured doing your other physical activities. There’s a reason they have football players do stretching and/or yoga, so they are less likely to get injured.
- Balance: Yoga will vastly improve your balance, just going through the main parts of the class have balance elements and often there is a portion of the class dedicated specially to balance. This is an example of something you use or lose. I bet you had pretty good balance as a child. I have seen yoga students make amazing progress in this area, all it takes is time and persistence. Good balance means you’ll be less likely to fall. Side Note: I am a total clutz, and because I do so much balance training, even though I trip & stumble often I am able to catch myself pretty much every time.
- Fun/Community/Feeling of Well-being:
- Guys, yoga is so fun! Usually classes vary a bit (or a lot) if you choose to continually go to one studio, there are SO many different kinds of yoga and so many studios to try. It’s warm: in MN winter, I love stepping into a balmy yoga room and feeling like my core is warming up. Class has a flow to it: in Vinyasa yoga that I teach, breath is linked to movement and class feels almost like you’re dancing through it. Your mind gets focused and as we say as yoga teachers “leave your stress at the door, this next hour is just for you.”
- If you go to the same studio for a while, you start to meet other people, get to know the teacher(s) and start to recognize the people in class. Yogis are people you want to be your friends. They are some of the kindest, most sincere, sweet, and caring people I have met.
When you go to your first few classes: pay attention to how you feel after. Do you feel a little calmer? If a stressful situation comes up, how do you handle it? Do you freak out less than normal, or feel more like you can conquer it without a problem? Maybe you sleep better the night after you take a class?
There are just some of the MANY awesome things about yoga, hopefully I’ve convinced you to try it at least a few times 😊
Those of you who already do yoga: comment & tell me why you love it!
P.S BONUS: If you’d like to take a yoga class with my amazing teacher Lauren and I, we are CO-TEACHING a class on Saturday February 17th 10:30 am – noon!! It’s at her new studio in St. Paul just minutes from my office, Yoke Fitness! We would love to have you come, if you bring a friend class is only $5 per person! And when there are 2 teachers, you know there will be more adjustments (yoga adjustments, not chiro 😊 ) throughout class because there are more hands. See you there!