Today’s guest post comes from Roslyn of Flex Fit Dance, who is a PT and dancer based in London. She’s written about something I’ve never published on this blog before -what her experience at her first ever yoga class was like. If you’re new to yoga, definitely save this post and use it for a bit of motivation to try your first class.
When it comes to appointments, sessions, classes, clients and even social events, I’m a very on time person. In my mind “on time” has a sub-clause which is “with five-ten minutes to spare”. Even being one minute late triggers quite a lot of irrational anxiety that is disproportionate the situation. It just stresses me out.
Bizarrely, however, when it comes to crazes and trends I’m very late off the mark. Constantly. Whether it’s an actual fashion trend, and up-and-coming musician, or a fancy new place to go in town, I always seem to have a little bit of a delay compared to other people.
It took me ages to clamber myself up onto the Instagram bandwagon. And don’t even get me started on high-waisted jeans. I would say that it’s because I “don’t follow the crowds” and because I want to make sure I invest in things that are worth my time…the truth is that I’m just a bit oblivious.
Yoga is a brilliant example.
You may have read in my update post from all the way back in March that one of my goals was to try out a yoga class- for the very first time. People are often really surprised when they find out that (until recently) I’d never done a yoga class. I’m a personal trainer, an ex-dancer, I have a reasonably good balance between strength and flexibility. A lot of my sessions with clients focus on loosening tight hips and increasing flexibility. In principle, Yoga is right down my street. Which I have always known on some level. But, in typical Roslyn fashion, I just didn’t really think about it properly.
Not until recently anyway. One of the things I love most about being a PT is learning about and exploring different styles of training. Not to mention that my dancer-flexibility is very slowly being monopolised by my increasing strength!
The thing that’s put me off until this point is some of the “yogi stereotypes”. I’m a very down to earth person, often overly analytical. So some of the things that I believed to be associated with yoga- lots of nature imagery and spirituality- well…weren’t exactly my cup of tea.
But coming into the fitness industry and getting to know a whole load of people who either practise or instruct yoga, I became a bit more educated. I realised how broad the term “yoga” is and began to look more into the many different and varied branches that it offers. I accepted the fact that there is probably a branch out there that suits me and adopted a “don’t know until you try” mentality.
Quite by chance (or so I thought- I later realised that it was because of International Yoga Day on June 21st) suddenly loads of opportunities presented themselves for me to finally get my ass in gear.
One of which was a 6.30am sunrise yoga class on the 35th floor of Sky Garden- London’s walkie talkie building.
I may always be late to trends. But when I do finally get there I go all out!
Sunrise Yoga at Sky Garden, London
I didn’t intend to be simultaneously writing a review of Sky garden itself when I’m supposed to be focusing on the whole yoga thing. The thing is that when you’re in such an iconic location in a beautiful building and with panoramic views of London’s cityscape…
Well, how could I not?
It’s a beautiful place with a really calming atmosphere and the views speak for themselves. It’s a gorgeous place to watch the sunrise over London, yoga class or no.
Luckily it really added to the whole ‘yoga-debut’ experience. Before the class even started I felt removed from the hustle and bustle from the city below and far away from my daily tasks and routines.
The class itself was taken by the wonderful Ro. She was calm and knowledgeable and took everything in her stride. As a teacher myself I know how difficult it can be to run a busy class when there’s a huge range of abilities. She handled this perfectly – everything was well explained and clear enough even for my own novice self- but I did notice that she gave adaptations wherever necessary and progressions for the more advanced pupils. She also has a great voice. Like an actor. Not even the slightest hiccup broke the flow.
The practice itself I also thoroughly enjoyed. It was great to devote a whole hour to my body in a way that wasn’t putting it under a large amount of stress- like my normal training does. I love stretching, and actually having a large chunk of time stretch properly felt like a brilliant privilege.
The more dynamic and flowy bits were my favourite (sorry any yogi readers here for my appalling language…). I found myself best able to focus when one thing would move almost straight into the next and you literally barely had the time to focus on anything but your body and your breath.
In the interest of full disclosure, I felt myself losing concentration when Ro went into detail on the nature imagery (mountains and trees). I get that it can be extraordinarily helpful for other people. Just not me. I weirdly think I’d find it more calming to think about the scientific aspects of breath…the heart and the lungs and the blood circulating oxygen to the muscles, rather than thinking of emptying my vessel of negative energy.
I realise it’s essentially the same thing. It’s just the way I think.
All in all, yes, I’m going to try out a couple more yoga classes. I think it would be an incredibly beneficial thing to add to my routine to supplement a lot of high intensity strength training. I’m going to experiment with different styles and see if I can find one that’s fast paced enough to stop my hyper-analytical mind from overacting.
Am I a yogi yet? Well, no. But I’m always late to these things so maybe ask again in a few months’ time.
Keen for recommendations – what’s your favourite style of yoga and why?