Written by: Andrew Stuart
My journey in yoga has probably been pretty typical of most casual yogis. I started doing yoga with some friends a couple of years ago…practiced about once a week, maybe twice a week if I could find the time. I did this for a year or so before last fall when circumstances and choices forced me to take a break for several months. I was still hanging out with friends who were practicing yoga…and I was still involved in planning the I AM yoga festival…so I was continually feeling this pull to restart my own adventures in yoga.
The final push for me came with the beginning of the Yoga & The City blog series. I knew I was a little bit out of practice, and so I felt the need to start out my new yoga adventure on a slower pace. I didn’t want to go to a “beginner’s” class (for whatever that means), because I still felt like I had most of the knowledge for doing yoga still locked away in my head…ready to be released on my yoga mat. So I did some searching at the local studios, looking for a class that resonated with my current state of mind/yoga.
It didn’t take very long before I was looking at the Zen Body studio website and saw their Gentle Yoga class on the schedule. I think I was pretty much hooked from my first glance at the class description where it stated the class would include…”slow flowing standing poses and gentle stretching”.
There were several day/time options on the schedule for this particular class…as well as several different instructors. I chose a time that worked with my busy schedule…and it also happened to be an instructor that I had never taken yoga from before…Sunny. I had also never been to the Zen Body studio before…so this was going to be a new experience on many levels. I was excited to be taking a class from an instructor I’d had never had before…because I feel like I’ve always learned at least something from every yoga instructor I’ve taken so far.
When I arrived at the studio, it was a beautiful spring day, and I was already in a wonderful mood. I was happy to be on my path for starting yoga again. I was a little hesitant at first…mostly from being in a new place, with a new instructor…and only having a vague idea of what I was going to be doing. That hesitation was quickly diminished whenever I was joyfully greeted at the front door by another yoga instructor who checked me into the class and then directed me where to go to change and set up my yoga mat.
Before Sunny even arrived in the classroom, I started to mentally prepare myself for the class (as I used to do with most of my yoga classes)…setting my intent for how I wanted the class to go and what I wanted to get out of it. I was focusing on an easy-going class that would physically and mentally prepare myself for doing yoga again on a more regular basis. I made it a point to not talk to Sunny when she arrived. I was afraid she might get distracted or try and modify or change her class to meet some kind of unknown expectation…rather than just doing what felt right to her for that particular class. I was glad that I did.
When she arrived, Sunny introduced herself to the class of about 10-15 yogis. There were yogis of all ages and both genders in the class…I’m always happy to see other male yogis in the classes I take, as there seem to be fewer of us than those of the female persuasion. I felt like this was a very good mix for the class and coupled with Sunny’s happy demeanor, it was a great start to a great hour of gentle yoga.
Sunny provided just enough direction for any beginner yogis in the class, but also provided enough options for those yogis who might be a little more advanced and want to stretch their bodies just a little bit further than the typical. I’ve always been quite flexible, so most stretching yoga poses have been fairly easy for me to do. So being able to push those boundaries after not having done yoga for quite some time felt very good.
All in all, Sunny provided me exactly what I was looking for in my first class of my new yoga adventure. I would encourage any yogi to attend her class who’s looking for yoga that will push your bodies’ boundaries, but won’t make you feel like you were on a torturer’s rack the next couple of days (unless, of course, that IS what you’re looking for…lol). Thank you Sunny for such a wonderful afternoon hour of gentle yoga.