For 2018, one of my many resolutions is to try something new in my physical fitness routine. I was badly needing to shake things up and incorporate some strength training to keep myself strong in the (hopeful) many decades ahead of me. Despite years of running (or really run/walk/jogging while gasping for air) I realized it was torture for me. All of the endorphins in the world couldn’t get me past the runner’s wall and I hated every moment – every time. To make matters worse, my knees ached from the activity and I nearly cried with frustration at every half marathon. I have come to terms with the fact that I am not a runner, and that’s okay. But, instead of settling into the thought that I am not a runner and leaving it at that, I want to figure out what I am. Our bodies crave physicality and I’m using 2018 to search for what it is that will ignite my desire to be stronger and healthier. So, in all of my wisdom, I thought I should start with some nice stretching in January (i.e. yoga) and then maybe work toward the scariest thing of all – weight training.
Boy, was I wrong. Yoga has it all, it is a multi-tasking activity. Vinyasa yoga is gentle yet it induces cardio, strength, flexibility, and (with the right teacher) some mental health and spirituality sprinkled in. I am in love. There are two methods I’m currently working through on my yogi journey. One, is the studio (Core Power Yoga) and the second is practicing at home from a free app (Down Dog).
I am not an affiliate for either Core Power Yoga or Down Dog, this is simply my own unbiased experience.
- The spirituality component is important to me. While this ultimately depends on if I have a teacher whom incorporates the spirituality (each teacher brings their own style).
- Because I am working full time, I’m able to do this on my lunch break (thanks to a very generous physical fitness program which allows us 3 hours of paid time a week to focus on fitness). To get away and go to a studio is wonderful because I am fully away from the office and must unplug completely.
- Adjustments. These are important. The teacher will come over and help deepen your stretch or correct your alignment to prevent injuries.
- Every time I’m in the studio it is an experience for me. I don’t find money spent on experiences wasteful.
- It’s on my schedule and any place I choose. Traveling? No problem!
- I can get up and look anyhow I want to get downstairs and handle my business. No driving, no being presentable, just me and the mat.
- I can try new poses without feeling awkward.
- I have a hugely supportive Mr. Moe who has carved out a space just for me in the basement dedicated to my practice.
* omitting the supplies (mat, towel, clothing) because you’ll need these for both*
- Studio: Any classes (Black Tag Membership) – $139 monthly (with a military discount) – costs vary by location; I live in one of the highest cost areas.
- The studio offers a free week with a lower priced intro month to really get a feel for your use.
- They also sell classes in blocks (and I’m told sometimes they offer specials on discount sites – i.e. Groupon)
- App: Free or $7.99 a month or $49.99 a year (for the Pro version). In my opinion the free app fits all of my needs at this point in my yogi journey.
- The PRO version allows you to focus on a specific body part
- Slow down or speed up the practice
- Switch music
- Decrease the spoken instruction
So, What’s Best?
My conclusion is, for now, a blend of both. I enjoy the guidance from the teachers and will keep working with both until I am more comfortable with the poses and my alignment. Plus, with the hour my work offers me to show up and sweat this is the best fit for me. I can go to the gym at our work, but I tried it once and felt awkward. I enjoy the separation from work and anything that is my personal life (including my fitness journey). However, my ultimate goal is to be untethered from the studio and from its expense. Mr. Moe makes a great point – I’m worth this expense and the immense joy and de-stressing it brings me every day. What is most important is getting myself on the mat as often as I can.