After all the seasonal goodies were scoffed and I’d got bored with sitting on my butt watching crap Christmas TV, I couldn’t wait to get started on my very own yoga challenge this month.
This brilliant scheme by Bristol City Yoga is designed to encourage you back into movement and body awareness with a great selection of Hatha, Iyengar and Ashtanga classes. For only £50 you get to attend as many classes as you like in January, and if you do four classes in each of the four weeks, they’ll throw in an extra weeks free yoga in February. How does it get better than that?
I had some experience of a yoga studio years ago and to be honest didn’t find it that welcoming and as a beginner I’d been put off with the equipment used and all the Sanskrit names for the postures. I’ve got a hopeless memory and Ushtrasana or Natavarasana means as much to me now as it did seven years ago when I began my practise. So I’ve preferred to stick to various classes in community centres across the city which I found more informal.
Happily my first class at Bristol City Yoga was very friendly and welcoming. I adore the beautiful studio space which always feels so light, modern and uncluttered. I’d chosen a Hatha Class given by the boss Laura Gilmore. This was a level 3 class and a bit above my abilities but I’d been so eager to start I didn’t want to wait until the evening level 1 class, partly because I’m not a beginner but chiefly because I’m so rubbish at leaving my house on dark winter nights.
Laura is a very experienced teacher and I found her corrections and suggestions very helpful. We kept coming back to downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana – see I’m learning, actually no, I Googled it!) which was like a cornerstone for the class. Re-visiting the posture not only helped my poor stiff body ease more gradually into it and improve my technique, but also helped free up my lower back and pelvis for some of the other asanas.
I loved the class and its focus on the lower body today which is where I need it most. We got to do Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II) which is my all-time favourite pose. I revel in the energetic strength of this posture. It makes me feel like I can take on the world, or the rest of the yoga challenge at least!
If you’re interested in finding out more about the yoga challenge or Bristol City Yoga, please visit their website for more info. www.bristolcityyoga.co.uk