A first: On Tuesday, I officially earned the right to say that I did a headstand in the presence of others. Woo!
That said, my toe is still mysteriously not OK, though I guess I’m starting to recognize that 1) it’s some form of tendinitis and 2) just because it’s a tiny toe doesn’t mean it doesn’t need rest. Tuesday morning was one of those days when I could have easily been lured out of bed by the city streets, but instead, I packed a change of clothing, headed off to work, and awaited a lunchtime yoga class at Jivamukti in Union Square. Yes, the really intense studio with photos like this.
I hadn’t been to Jivamukti in a really long time. Like I’ve said before, in times of financial deficit, yoga doesn’t exactly make the top of the “need” list – especially with websites like yogadownload.com, where I can down dog for peanuts in comparison to the price of a class in Manhattan. But I think my body may be suffering from my lack of stretching, and so this midday Spiritual Warrior flow was more emergency than luxury.
I happen to love this class. It’s not much of a workout, but there are enough vinyasas and long-held poses to make me feel as though my arms gained some sort of strength. As for the stretch factor and attention to the piriformis muscle with poses like seated spinal twist, it’s definitely first rate.
The other reason why I’m drawn to Jivamukti’s Spiritual Warrior class time and again is consistency. Each class follows the same set of poses, each pose held for the same amount of time. In a world where you can hardly rely on Starbucks for your daily latte (their steamer has broken on me 3 times in the last year; common guys), I’ve really come to appreciate the unwavering nature of this hour-long class.
So with all the monotony, and forgive me for drawing on my Jewish roots here, but what makes this class different from all other classes? For the first time since beginning my yoga practice (which is something like 7 years), and since discovering Jivamukti’s beautiful studio (about a year now), I was able to complete a headstand – you know, that pose I’d usually just take legs-up-the-wall for (see below).
What’s funny about this achievement though, is that while, sure, I felt personally accomplished, that sense of achievement didn’t permeate the borders of my yoga mat. That’s also something I love about Jivamutki’s studio: the lack of competition.
My inversion didn’t break any yoga barriers. It definitely wasn’t perfect. I didn’t hold my pose the longest. I probably held my headstand for about 20 seconds (a PHR – personal headstand record!), took a break, and then held it for another few seconds. That was really it. And with that, I assumed a short meditation stance, slept through savasana, and was back off to work where I finished out the day in yoga pants and a tie dye sports bra.
I know it’s not the norm to be able to take an hour out of the work day to do something so personal like practice yoga. But if you can spin it, I highly suggest you try. Yoga offered a great way to break up my day, and I actually found myself much more productive than had I spent 30 minutes stuffing my face. After class, I also wasn’t craving a hefty meal, and instead chose to snack on pears, grapefruit slices, and my new favorite cinnamon oat cereal.
If you’re planning on signing up for a yoga class midday, just remember to:
1. Pack a bag with a change of clothing.
2. Leave a yoga mat in the office so you don’t have to think about it or schlep it to work.
3. Bring a towel. You’ll probably want to shower (even if I didn’t). Call the studio first if you’ve never been, and inquire about their changing rooms. Some studios rent towels, but I prefer my own.
4. Deodorant. Don’t forget your deodorant.