Today I signed up for an auto-renew membership at a studio that is close to my apartment. It was perhaps a hasty decision but I couldn’t resist their $59 a month special. I only just started looking for a yoga “home” this past week. Working two jobs and 13 hour days has kept me from doing much of anything exercise-minded for the past month, and it has been a bit of a struggle for my mind and body to adjust to such a harsh (and inconsistent) schedule. But, I’ve finally reached some sort of equilibrium where I feel in the right place to begin my yoga practice again.
At the beginning of this week, I signed up for $7 for 7 days of unlimited yoga at a power yoga studio. I thought I would enjoy power yoga because I love very athletic and physically challenging vinyasas, but after two classes there, I knew I hated it. Although I did in fact enjoy the physical nature of the class, I absolutely could not stand doing yoga in a room heated to 90+ degrees. I also found it incredibly irksome that the studio burned incense throughout the yoga class. I am very sensitive to airborne allergens like dust, mold, and smoke – incense, although I do like the way it smells, causes an inflammatory response in my body and makes it even harder for me to breathe than it already is (my nose always seems to be partially stuffed up). This studio also unfortunately conformed to all the stereotypes about yoga studios that I hate – everyone seemed to be dressed in and using name brand yoga stuff, everyone seemed to be upper middle class and white. I know I’m judging many books by their cover without much background knowledge, but ultimately, the whole atmosphere felt very inauthentic and I felt very uncomfortable and out-of-place there.
So, after the urging of my boyfriend, I decided to try this tiny vinyasa studio that I pass almost every day to and from work. They had a $30 for 30 days unlimited yoga trial that I signed up for online, and today was my first class. It was an all-levels vinyasa class that surprisingly mimicked the power yoga classes I’d taken (I found out later that the teacher of this class received her training in power yoga). It was so much nicer though. The class was incredibly small; there were maybe 5 or 6 of us in the class and it was a little bit slower paced than the power yoga classes. I felt much more comfortable. The teacher introduced herself to me (and everyone else) before the class started, and she put out the incense before we started practicing. The room was only heated to 80 degrees and it was filled with natural lighting. I knew right away that I was happier at this studio than I would ever be at the power yoga place, which is why I dove in head first to the auto-renew membership.
I still really believe that Ashtanga yoga is my forever yoga home, but the closest Ashtanga studio is a 30 minute walk away from my apartment. A membership there is also really out of my price range right now, considering my student loan payments will be starting in about a month. I think Ashtanga has everything I want from yoga. It is very physically challenging, it is traditional and ritualistic (I like doing the same thing over and over again), and if I understand correctly, the room is not heated. But that will have to wait. I think the most important thing right now, as I juggle two jobs, is consistency with my yoga practice. What kind of yoga I do doesn’t matter as much right now; what matters is making sure I get on my mat.