I went to yoga class last night for the first time since before I left on vacation. I was feeling out of shape and tight, and I was really looking forward to the class.
I lined up, darted in, and secured my favorite spot,1 and then stepped out of the room to grab a drink of water. I knew something was wrong the moment I re-entered the room. The lights were dim, there was music playing, and everyone was laying calmly on their mats.
That might sound like a good way to prepare for yoga for many people, but that’s not the reason I take this class. I don’t practice in a yoga studio; I practice at Crunch Gym. I used to visit a yoga studio in Chicago, and I like the Crunch classes so much more. They don’t seem to take themselves so seriously – which is not to say that they aren’t challenging or conscientious about proper form; they are most certainly both. They just have a more lively feel to them, an attitude that yoga can be fun. That’s an even more true of the class that I normally take, which is led by an energetic and entertaining woman named Glennie. She talks through most of the class, often telling us outrageous stories about things like chickens running wild on Second Avenue and surviving kidnapping with pranayama. I love it.
Already I could tell by the quiet in the room that this would not be my normal yoga class. Sure enough, a thin, tattooed girl in baggy sweatpants and a Rocky Horror Show t-shirt stepped to the front of the room and announced, “I’m not Glennie.”
Glennie varies what we do in class each week, but we usually start each class with a couple of rounds of Surya Namaskara A. Sometimes we do Surya Namaskara B, or a modified version thereof, but we always start with sun salutations.
I’m really not even sure what this girl did to start the class. It had pieces of the sun salutations … but we performed them in a choppy manner, not in a flow. I think she might have been a Bikram instructor because we did a lot of the Bikram poses. In any event, I was distracted most of the class because she had us all facing each other. It’s slightly disconcerting to be making eye contact with a stranger while you’re trying to concentrate on not falling over while in Garudasana, and I can’t even begin to explain how awkward it made our (sad and painful) attempts at Hanumanasana.
In all fairness, she was a fine instructor … I’m just resistant to change in my yoga practice. I like a little variety, but I don’t like having the entire game changed on me. The good side of this, however, is that it has inspired me to pull out my yoga mat here at home and do those sun salutations!
1 Do you remember when I decided I wasn’t going to be unnecessarily competitive toward getting a spot in yoga class? Yeah, me neither, apparently.