I take a yoga class every Friday from 1-2pm. I started because it is £5 a class, located 2 floors below my office, and is in the most beautiful faith centre with soft wooden floors and glorious natural light streaming through a stained glass window. I’m nothing if not about convenient & cheap yoga in a room that matches my leggings.
It is an Ashtanga class taught by the wonderful Dimitris who is equally a funny (“Smile, it wont make you fall over”) and conscious teacher, and it follows the Ashtanga same flow every week. When I first started doing it I was sure I’d be bored in a few weeks and stop going.
That didn’t happen.
I had the most to learn in the class by a mile. With very few people in each class (even a few 1:1 classes!) there is no hiding and the teacher always wants to make sure you are doing each pose to the best of your ability and not compensating or cheating. Each class I would be adjusted or told something new to work on that felt impossible to do without the helpful hands of the teacher.
After about 12 weeks the teacher started to communicate the poses only with their Sanskrit names. After weeks of doing the same flow I had to listen to my body to know what was next and was surprised it remembered the flow more than my ears. Five Surya Namaskara As, Four Surya Namaskara Bs, Standing postures, Utthita Trikonasana then Parivritta Trikonasana, and on and on…
Marathons came and went, and there was no longer a big YOGA on my Friday calendar, but I continued to go. Some classes I looked forward to the Prasarita Padottanasana where the weight of hunching my shoulders all week would fall out the top of my head. Other weeks the Utthita Trikonasana would feel near impossible as my hips refused to open wide enough. Some classes we’d work on our breathing for what felt like hours of just sitting up straight and breathing. Other week’s we’d spend more time on our back bends getting our breathing and neck posture just right.
One year later I’m no cover model yogi. I still look like a (slightly less) bent runner with tight hamstrings and minimal hip mobility but through this consistency I have seen improvements.
- It took 6 months but I finally got into a proper upward dog and not just a glorified cobra.
- Just last week I did my first “hop” back during Surya Namaskara A (and B).
I’m not moving up to any harder yoga classes, or thinking about entering any yoga competitions (are there any?) just enjoying going to each class. Which brings me back to consistency. During today’s shavassana I was thinking about my running. If I brought some of this consistency to my running and didn’t first think about getting faster and running farther, but about running consistently… what improvements would I see over a year?
So there you go, it took going to a cheap and convenient yoga class for a year to teach me that consistency is important.