My first yoga class went great and I was so eager to experience different types of yoga classes and styles. After researching some studios in my area, I stumbled across College Park Yoga. I remembered a friend of mine raving about this place so I decided to give it a shot. I signed up for a 90 minute Ashtanga Vinyasa class that was aimed towards all levels.
College Park Yoga. The real yogis refer to it as CPY.
I arrived to the studio feeling excited and somewhat prepared. Having one yoga class under my belt makes me a Yogi now, right? I walked in and was warmly greeted by a man sitting behind the front desk. He gave me a tour of their facility that ended in their main yoga studio. It was dimly lit and very calming like the first studio, but about 3 times the size. To the right of the room there were candles lit and statues of buddhas. I also noticed there were heaters scattered throughout the room. This instantly made me nervous and I double checked to make sure this wasn't a hot yoga class (I’m pretty sure I would faint from heat exhaustion within the first 5 minutes). It was not. Or so they claimed.
How I imagine a hot yoga class would go.
I laid out my mat towards the back of the room and waited for my coworkers to arrive. I had four of them joining me this week, so I was pretty much part of a yoga posse now. I looked around and was so surprised at the variety of people in the room. There were about 25 people and 7 of them were men. My last class was all females so I found this interesting. I was also intrigued to see an older woman in front of me who looked to be in about her 70s (she ended up being a rockstar and put her body in positions I didn't even know were possible). I also noticed there was a very sweet woman walking around greeting everyone with hugs and laughter. I was immediately drawn to her calming voice and presence and figured she must be the instructor. I was wrong (yet again).
Carly excited to start and me worrying about the whole heater situation.
The man that had greeted me walked into the room and instructed everyone to stand at the front of their mat in the prayer pose. He was the instructor! I always thought of yoga instructors being women so this caught me off guard. He introduced himself and his wife (who was the calming woman walking around). Their names were Calvin and Theresa and they were the owners and instructors of CPY.
Calvin started the class with some breathing exercises and discussed how important it was for all of us in the class to be connected. We would start this connection with the “OM” chant. He told us to take a deep breath in through our nose and then exhale while chanting “OMMMMMMM”. I laughed to myself during the first chant (I tend to laugh when I feel uncomfortable or awkward). However, I was really taken aback at to how powerful this exercise was when we all did it together. You could almost feel the room vibrating. I did some research about the power of the “OM” afterwards and the whole vibrating stuff is actually a thing. Read about it here, it’s pretty cool.
After these breathing exercises we started with a standard Vinyasa Flow. This is a sequence of movements that end in the downward facing dog. I was feeling comfortable and strong in my poses in the beginning, but as we progressed, I started feeling out of my element- and out of shape. My arms and legs were shaking, I was hot and sweaty (like really, really sweaty), and at one point I thought I was going to pass out. This class was proving to be much more challenging than the last.
Me 30 minutes into the class.
The thing that kept me motivated to keep going though was Calvin and Theresa. They walked around during the entire class and corrected our poses and and gave words of encouragement. I think Theresa could tell I was starting to shake and she came over and told me how great I was doing. She said that if I felt uncomfortable or unsteady to just move into the child's pose and relax. I did this a few times and it really helped me regain my focus.
The class ended with a Savasana. The Savasana Pose is also referred to as the Corpse Pose. You lie on your back with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing and meditation (my kind of pose). After 90 minutes of sweating and feeling like I was going to die, lying on the ground with my eyes closed never seemed so glorious. As I closed my eyes, the dim lights in the room were turned off completely. Calvin walked around the room and spoke to us in a very inspiring and calming manner. I was starting to feel completely relaxed when Theresa whispered in my ear and asked if I wanted a neck massage. I shook my head yes and she began massaging my neck with essential oil. This was the tip of the iceberg in my relaxation process and I was dreading having to open my eyes and come out of the meditation. I honestly had never felt so relaxed- for a second I thought maybe I actually did die (I opened up my eyes for a second just to check.... I was alive).
I knew my sleeping expertise would eventually come in handy.
After the Savasana (or yoga nap as I like to think of it), Calvin had us sit with our legs crossed and hands in the prayer pose. We did some more breathing exercises and ended with another “OM” chant. Calvin and Theresa then thanked the whole class and told us what a great job we did. When the lights turned back on, my coworkers and I immediately started chatting about how challenging the class was (and how sweaty we were). My “yoga posse” and I gathered our things and walked out of the studio. Calvin and Theresa were standing by the front door and gave us all hugs and words of encouragement as we left. I loved them.
Although this class was much more challenging than the last, I really enjoyed it. I was so proud of myself for not giving up and making it through the whole class. I haven’t felt this sense of self pride in a very long time and it is something I feel I have been missing out on (I could do without the sweating though). I am hoping to become more comfortable and strong with each class and prove to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. After all, “You Are Your Only Limit” (another shameless plug alert! I gotta rep our brand).
Namaste, my friends.