Monday, February 21, 2011

Birthday Yoga at Sun Dog

This past weekend I was home in PA for my birthday and Will and I decided to drop by my very favorite yoga studio. I have spent time in and out of studios in Princeton, NJ, New York, and a few other places on road trips but I always come back to Sun Dog Yoga. The classes have a very local feeling, the teachers often know the students names, they remember us each time we return to town, and there is always a very comfortable feeling in the sun filled room. While I have taken a number of rather fitness driven classes, the classes here have worked me harder, but never made me feel like that was the goal. There is a spirituality to the place that is very calming and centering, there were some trips home that I took while wedding planning that if it weren't for Sun Dog I may have melted down completely. They always start with an Om and a chant, and you always end with a meditation about being filled with Loving Kindness.

This weekend's visit was to fulfill a dual purpose. One, I've been stressed as hell with making grad school selections and if I hadn't suggested going, I think Will would have dragged me there by the ankle and stapled me to the yoga mat. Two, they are very, very good at looking closely at your posture and correcting your poses. Going into the upcoming month of yoga, I want to make sure my poses are as strong as possible, because if the Yoga Room teachers are not as good at this I'm going to get very used to standing in these positions incorrectly. The last thing I want is to do a whole 30 days of yoga and then end up with a wonky Warrior One. People will talk.

We arrived in Doylestown on a very windy Saturday to discover half the town, including the yoga studio, to be without power. Luckily Sun Dog's immense windows made this not a huge issue, and there was heat enough. Halfway through a sun salutation, finger pointing in the air, the lights popped back on about 15 minutes into class. It was the second time I had stood in that room and had felt like a collective effort of good energy had brought something amusingly good to pass. Halfway through our Thanksgiving day yoga, a light snow began to swirl outside the windows, the first of the season. Given how the rest of the snow season played out, I may not want to be too proud of this.

I breathed, I stretched, I had a tutorial on getting my hips to point at the damn wall. I breathed. I chanted. I tried to not let my mind drift. I failed a few times. Something surprising was happening too. Positions I used to need the strap for, leaning over and holding onto my toes, for example, I found I was actually able to get into without assistance. I have been taking a class in Cirque Style Fitness at the Art of Fitness in Queens, and I think I've inadvertently been strengthening parts of my body while I was paying attention to not falling over. Go me. I left feeling more confidant about my upcoming plans. Sheri, the teacher of this class and owner of the studio, suggested I do 40 days of yoga instead of 30, as doing something 40 days in a row apparently has some sort of transformative power. I'll consider it if I survive the 30 first. One week till go time.

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