Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Vinyasa Flow Yoga at Baltimore Yoga Village

The thunderstorm couldn't have come at a more perfect time. As soon as I arrived at Baltimore Yoga Village (BYV), the rain started to patter on the roof of the converted mill. Anjali showed me the ropes for a while and we chatted about BYV's unique and enriching events coming up this summer. Many talented teachers will be visiting the studio this summer in addition to the experienced teachers holding regular classes. Events will cover everything from family dancing, to drumming workshops, to Sitar and Native American Flute Concerts.

After working with Anjali for a couple hours, I experienced the talent of BYV's yoga teachers first hand. Deborah Quirk teaches the Vinyasa Flow Yoga class on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-8:00. There were about eight people in class. We started with a short meditation, during which my feet kept falling asleep. Hopefully yoga will improve my circulation.

The majority of the time we worked on a series of poses that grew into each other. Baltimore Yoga Village describes the class as: "Students progress through a step-by-step progression of postures, which develop into a challenging and flowing sequence.". By the end of the class I was sweaty from head to toe, my heartbeat was elevated, and I was fully focused on the movement and strength (sometimes weakness) of my body. The symmetry of the poses helped me realize the large difference in strength of the right and left sides of my body (left being much weaker).

Deborah was encouraging and clearly communicated each movement. She also pointed out modifications for the more intermediate poses so that everyone could participate. Deborah also took time to work more in-depth on the cobra pose after noticing many students practicing the move improperly. Her suggestions were very helpful and prevented my from getting frustrated, discouraged, or hurt. The stretching and closing meditation was especially enjoyable. I was surprised when this portion of the class began because the 1 hour and 15 minutes had flown by so quickly. Not once did I feel self conscious. Everyone in class was focused on themselves and Deborah always gave me an encouraging smile when I wobbled or fell off balance.

We lay on our backs in darkness and silence for five to ten minutes at the very end of class. The only thing I could hear were the birds outside and the last of the drizzling rain. I forgot that there was anyone else in the room. I forgot I was even breathing. Deborah ended the meditation by ringing a soothing Tibetan metal bowl and we sat up at our own pace. It meant a lot to me when Deborah approached me after class and asked about my experience.

For the first time, in I don't know how long, I slept for eight hours without waking last night. My dreams were vivid and long. I'm looking forward to going back to BYV on Wednesday to help out at the studio and take the Vinyasa class again.

PS-I bought a handy Gaiam yoga bag at Bikram Yoga Hampden during lunchtime yesterday. It has enough room for my yoga mat, yoga clothes, keys, phone, and wallet. There are also beautiful handmade yoga bags made from silk saris at Baltimore Yoga Village.

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