I have been hearing about the benefits of yoga for years. My father has been practicing yoga for several years now, and one of my closest friends, Tara, has been a yogi for quite some time. One of my favorite things on a Saturday morning for years was going for a run or taking a Flywheel class and meeting Tara after her yoga class for breakfast. She always showed up looking calm and relaxed. For some reason though, I have never been compelled to try a class. It just didn’t seem like it was for me. I can’t articulate why I felt that way, maybe my type A personality wouldn’t let me calm down enough to try it, or maybe I was intimidated by it, or maybe it was a little bit (or a lot) of both.
When I met my husband Ryan a couple of years ago, he had mentioned he had started practicing yoga when he lived in San Diego, and he had found a great instructor in Phoenix when he moved there and unfortunately the place had recently shut down. So, by the time we got married and I moved to Phoenix, Ryan hadn’t been to yoga in a while and I was not looking for a class for us to take anytime soon.
About a month ago, Ryan asked me if I wanted to go to take a gentle yoga class that Sunday morning. He had found out that his favorite instructor, Vicki Levine, is now teaching at the Montelucia Resort, which is pretty close to our house. I had no reason to say no, but I wouldn’t say I was looking forward to it. So we went to the class on a Sunday morning and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
First of all, the studio is stunning. It has a wall of sliding glass doors that open onto a patio overlooking Camelback Mountain. It’s a beautiful view to have while taking a class.
Ryan introduced me to Vicki and we let her know it was my first class (the class had about 6 people, which was great as we were all spread out). Since it was Gentle Yoga, we focused a lot on breathing and stretching, but I found when we went into yoga poses, Vicki’s cues on how to properly do each pose were just perfect for me. Somehow I understood where to put my body, and her adjustments made so much sense. For someone who is not the most graceful or coordinated, it was nice to feel like I “got it” from the beginning. And when I say that I “got it” I am by no means thinking that I’ve learned it all, I just mean that I felt comfortable learning it, really enjoyed it, and wanted to go back.
We’ve attended this class the past couple of Sundays, and I love setting my intention from the beginning of class (I’ve been working on “calm” as this is something that I always try to work at) and I love how I feel when I leave. Still, last Sunday I asked Vicki if I was ready to try a basic flow class and although she told me I was I was still a little nervous to take that next step.
Luckily this week we had the opportunity to take her Yoga For Every Body class, which was amazing. There were only three of us in this class, and she spent the hour breaking down how to properly do all of the basic poses. We covered basic flow, sun salutations, Warrior 1 and 2, Triangle, Downward Dog, Cobra, and Tree poses to name a few. It was such a fantastic learning opportunity and I truly enjoyed every minute of the class.
So now, I look forward to my yoga class every week. Somehow, I find it challenging, yet relaxing all at once. Mentally I love being stimulated by trying something new and foreign to me, and physically I love feeling how I am building new strength. I am so lucky to have been introduced to the perfect instructor for me to learn from, and to have a beautiful place to practice. I’m so excited to take a class with my Dad when he comes to visit and with my friend Tara back in NY! I will keep you updated on my yoga progress going forward.