This past week, I completed my own personal yoga challenge at Gaia Flow Yoga in Uptown. My challenge was to discipline myself and to slow down with the more gentle practices. I used to only attend the power-based classes: Ocean, Mountain, and Weekend Warrior. I enjoy these three because they are challenging and leave me feeling like I got a great workout.
My first new class was the Gentle Waves practice. It is described as more beginner-based, with all levels welcome. I found myself frustrated most of the time, trying to go into deeper and more advanced poses. I could tell that the instructor wanted me to take it down a few notches, and that bothered me. After the class, however, I realized the purpose of my challenge was to take a step (or four!) back and make it more of a restorative practice. I will definitely be trying the class again for this purpose!
Still Water Yin was another challenge on the mind. I used to loathe stretching-based classes because I would find myself starting at the clock every second with my mind wandering aimlessly. In this particular class, during the many hip opening poses along with long stretches between, I felt a release of emotions and stress. I never really believed that stretching had the potential to do that, but I felt amazing during and after the practice!
Desert is the final piece to the three main practices at Gaia Flow (Ocean and Mountain being the other two). I never tried it before because the * next to the title implied “gentle” and “beginner”, which I believed was not made for me. In this class, we held poses longer and did many heart opening poses. This meditative practice is definitely worth going again!
G-Ashtanga is only offered two times a week, so it was more difficult for me to try it in the past. The only one I can take this semester is the 7:15 a.m. class on Saturday. I think the bigger challenge was rolling out of bed…The intermediate/advanced class brought me back to the beginning of my yoga journey. I started with Ashtanga classes as a middle-schooler, and forgot how much I enjoy the change from Vinyasa. I would definitely wake up early for that again!
I encourage you to challenge yourself! It doesn’t have to involve yoga or exercise, but something that takes you out of your comfort zone and into a new way of being. This was a great idea for me, making me look forward to the next challenge idea soon! 🙂