There are some of us in the world who are just constantly running at a level of stressed. I am one of these people. Talking to a friend recently he couldn’t believe that one person could be stressed about so many things at once, and the reality is that it’s only the tip of the iceberg. There’s work stress, money stress, house stress, social stress, family stress, diet stress, health stress…there’s always something to be a little bit stressed about. For some people this stress just runs off them like water off a duck’s back and for some people, me included, it’s just kind of always there residing in our frantic thoughts and tense neck muscles. I’m sure you already know which kind of person you are.
So when I saw a new yoga class starting up locally, I decided to give it a go. I’d thought for a while that I would like to take up yoga but what few local classes there were just never seemed to be at suitable times. With the first class free and my stress and anxiety levels getting ever higher, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to find out what a yoga class was all about.
I then found out that one of my parents’ friends was also doing classes in the town on a different night, and since my work hours are so unreliable I decided to give both classes a go to see how I got on with the thought that if I liked them both then maybe I would manage to make it along to at least one of them each week. A little research showed that the two classes were offering two different types of yoga, so I thought that this would make for an interesting comparison too.
For full disclosure, this was not my first time doing yoga however this was my first time doing a ‘proper class’ as I had only ever done short taster sessions before.
Night One: Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga is a slower yoga, where it was more about getting into the position and holding it for a few minutes at a time. I don’t know if this is always the case, but the night I was there it was all on-the-floor poses, and I kinda just felt like I had laid on the floor for an hour.
A big part of the aim of the slower yoga is to help calm the mind, however unfortunately for me this had the opposite effect. I learned that when you’re mind is already racing at 100 miles a minute, laying down on the floor taking some deep breaths is not going to make it magically slow down and stop. It actually made it worse, and I ended up hardly sleeping that night because my mind just would not shut off. While I knew from what I had read that it could take a few sessions of yoga to notice a reduction in your levels of stress or anxiety, I wasn’t quite prepared for how much worse it made it. I have not gone back to this class yet, and I’m still undecided whether or not I will try it again.
Banana pose was probably my favourite.
Night Two: Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga incorporates aspects from various types of yoga and is sometimes viewed as “general yoga”. This class was smaller than the first night and less formal, which in itself probably helped. What this class offered was a series of poses and exercises and while some are still maintained for a while the focus is not on staying in the same position for five minutes at a time being at one with yourself. I mean, I’m not entirely sure what the focus is on but it’s not that.
This class involved a lot more movement and I actually left feeling like I’d had a bit of a workout rather than just feeling like I had done nothing but lie on the floor all night. There was a combination of on the floor and standing poses aimed at working on balance, stretching and breathing. For what I was wanting yoga to do for me this class seemed to work a bit better because my racing mind could be distracted from all of the thoughts and could focus on trying to get my body into tree pose or a downward dog without landing flat on my face. I found in the cool down session that while my mind still wandered to all of the things that it was meant to be taking a break from, it was doing so at a slightly slower pace and I actually slept better that night than I had done in weeks.
I have been back to this class once already and will definitely consider going back again in the future.
Have you ever tried yoga? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!