Now as you probably know I am pretty much a power yoga junkie. I like to flow and I like to move and I like to get hot. If there isn't a steady dribble of sweat coming off my nose, fingertips, and earlobes I am wondering what is wrong!
I started out in yoga about 5 years ago doing Bikram. Now for those of you not familiar with this super trendy style of yoga let me get you up to speed. You don't want to feel left out on the yoga buzz!
Basically you are in a big sweat box with a load of other people slogging your way through 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. I know it sounds awful but let me tell you, it is so addictive. I went once, and was completely hooked. I was dripping before the class started in 102 degree heat and 60% humidity. I know, some of you are thinking, "Sophie, that's not a yoga studio, that's a Swedish steam room for relaxing in!"
So after a few years of giving my money to Mr. Choudhray, multi millionaire behind the Bikram Yoga phenomenon, I decided I wanted to learn how to teach yoga. Bikram's teacher training is $$$$$$ so I did what everyone between the ages of 12 and 75 do these days when they want some information, I got on Google and searched. That was where I discovered YogaHaven, offering "The only hot yoga training in Europe", which was much more affordable than Bikram and so I signed up!
Now it was at my teacher training that my eyes were opened to so many styles of yoga of which I had no idea. I studied Iyengar and Scaravelli, Kundilini and yin and I was completely amazed by Vinyasa flow. How incredible that just by breathing and steadily moving through postures you can create the heat within your body. And you can sweat! No heaters or humidifiers required! Groovy!
I am now a complete Vinyasa fan. No more Bikram for me thank you very much - I am grateful to Bikram Yoga because if I had not studied that style of yoga I would never be where I am now, but from here on in, I choose to flow.
Back to the power yoga junkie thing!
I usually take "core yoga" or "yoga for athletes" or Ashtanga. You know, all those hard core ones but this week I couldn't make my normal practice times so I pitched up, mat in hand to "Slow Flow by Candlelight". OK then! Open your mind Sophie and see what happens. OMG!
It was the most gorgeous class I have ever been to! Can a yoga class be gorgeous? The room was outlined with T Lights in different coloured glass votives and the lights were dimmed. There was a faint smell of incense coming from a larger candle on the front desk and the mood was so calm.
The wonderful teacher started us all in Balasna (Child's Pose) and explained the reasons for doing a slow flow. She talked about how we all tend to rush through our poses in class and don't often get to savour the feeling in a good deep Warrior or a lovely hip opening Pigeon. This coming from the woman whose classes usually consist of 85 sun salutes, every Warrior variation known to mankind, 300 kinds of psoas stretch and a million core strengtheners all slotted beautifully and effortlessly (by her not us!) into 60 non stop minutes of heart racing yoga flow.
So how was the slow flow I hear you ask?
It felt like floating.
The music was beautiful, her voice was calming and encouraging and the pace of the flow was spot on. I think I got more out of that class than I have in any vinyasa class so far. Not to say that I am going to ditch the power stuff and go all soft on you! But it was so lovely just to be able to really feel the poses, or really not, and just put your knees down and simply feel the breath!
By the final relaxation I was blissed out like never before.
I have therefore sworn never to get obsessed with one thing and become blinkered again. I did it for 4 years with Bikram and I have now done it over this power class obsession. I am so glad that the planets aligned and my schedule changed so I got to experience this amazing class. Perhaps we all need to be a bit more open to new things and spread our wings a bit. Perhaps you need to break out from your usual routine! You never know what might happen and you might actually discover something new and fantastic!
And so, inspired, I have made a "Slow Flow By Candlelight" playlist here on my iPod on the side of my blog. (I'm not bragging , but that is pretty cool and techy of me isn't it?!) Check it out and please feel free to use it in your next class or even play it at your next dinner party. Whatever you do with it, enjoy it, with my compliments!