I would describe myself as a wannabe yogi. I dream of effortlessly performing inversions on a calm beach while donning an etherial outfit…don’t we all?! Normally, depending on the month I could attend anywhere from one yoga class to eight. Cultivating a yoga practice is no different than others workouts in the sense that forming a routine is important. But until now I didn’t have a convenient and awesome place to frequent that worked for my schedule. Focus on the ‘until now’ portion of that statement!
Cut to Yoga Pod The Woodlands, a brand new studio that opened on June 8th. My goal was to attend a variety of classes at the pod over a four week period and see how my body reacted to a more balanced yoga practice, my findings are as follows.
Because I’m an introvert, feeling apart of any community is a challenge. But I tried my best to bring friends with me to class to get others involved. Nothing is more fun than sharing your joy with others! Plus I compared notes with other yogi friends who had tried the new studio as well, good reviews all around! The studio owner, Melony was very welcoming and it didn’t take long to get to know the instructors who are usually at the front desk greeting the yogis as they arrive. I always feel like a VIP when I arrive at the pod! —cue my ‘raise the roof’ hand gesture—
I’ve done my fair share of yoga, but that doesn’t guarantee confidence every time I unroll my mat. Thankfully the pod offers an array of class styles including PodFlow, PodBarre, PodGentle, YogaTone, PodYin, PodRestore, and I can’t forget about to mention those heated classes! There are PodHot and HotFlow heated classes, which I’m sure will be slightly more enjoyable in November. I am more naturally strong than flexible, so yoga is challenging to say the least. But to hear instructor Amy during PodFlow remind me that ‘This is your practice, listen to your body’ set me at ease. That kind of encouragement is not something you hear at every gym or studio.
All you have to do is slip your shoes off and connect with the ground, and at the pod you’re encouraged to that as soon as you walk in. Don’t mind if I do! I felt true comfort in the hour long practices. The moves in Casey’s PodGentle class allowed me to feel lengthened and powerful through completing calmer sequences. Lovely! The quality of the gentle classes at the pod is paramount. Both Casey and Felicia’s gentle flow interpretations will set up beginning and returning yogis for success in the future as their practices expand.
Speaking of flexibility, or the lack thereof (I’m working on it!), I wanted to try to new things and step out of my comfort zone with my yoga practice this month. Sooo…I tried a HotFlow class! This was scariest class on the schedule in my opinion. I’ve done a few warm flow classes before, but nothing at 90 degrees with 40% humidity (yep, you read that right)! I was open with instructor Hieu, ‘This is my first hot class, go easy on me!’, she was understanding and encouraging—exactly what I needed. I made it though the class, and felt absolutely footloose and fancy free afterward! Reaching, twisting and grounding into the mat in that kind of heat bears confidence and strength into you like no other practice can.
I know I’m strong from traditional resistance and TRX training, but yoga strength is a whole other story! Stabilizer muscle strength is needed to successfully launch and hold inversions as well as to balance on your hands and feet. There was one moment I felt truly ‘yoga strong’ during Lauren’s PodFlow class. She is an energetic instructor, her music had me grooving, tunes definitely help guide me when I exercise. She told the class that crow pose was the ‘inversion of choice’ per say for the month. I tried side crow for the first time that day and was successful on both sides. I felt like a total rock star and am not ashamed to brag thanks to Lauren’s guidance!
While I teach around ten fitness classes a week I still have to exercise on my own because my focus while teaching is not on my output or form, but the participants in class. It feels so nice to step into someone else’s class and focus on my own practice. I was sore after many of the workouts, which tells me that my body responded to the alternative workout and that stepping outside of my comfort zone was a positive choice. Holding new poses and stretching my limits cultivated improvement in my flexibility and posture. That is a success in my book!
One of my big goals for this year was to open my heart. Even though I write about happiness I still find myself feeling down and depressed at times. I know in those moments that I’m guarding my heart, especially when meeting new people and while facing adversity. It is easy to lock yourself away from the world and choose to not participate. But then I wouldn’t be sharing my joy with others and learning about what makes people giddy. Every instructor at YogaPod speaks to the heart. Most commonly saying ‘Lift your heart’ during practice. This is so needed in my life and in our world.
One of my favorite elements of yoga is the fact that instructors typically invite you to set an intention, which elevates the mind/body connection, during the practice. Life is better when you have a reason to work, move, and find contentment. I recently wrote that my life is far less stressful than in years past, is it a coincidence that I connected those dots during my month of yoga exploration? I think not!
Don’t try Yoga Pod The Woodlands because you want to buy a pair of yoga pants, go to a class because you want more. More from your body, your life, your heart. Try it out, giddiness is guaranteed, namaste!