After more than a month of yoga practice, last night I joined a Power Yoga class with Blake at Downtown Yoga Memphis. It was quite rewarding. And hard!
I’ve tried almost all of the class types by now at Downtown Yoga Memphis, intentionally leaving Power Yoga as one of the last so I could try it with more strength, balance, and practice.
Waiting paid off. By no means was I able to do every pose nor even keep Blake’s cadence consistently (yet). But I made it through and felt instant gratification for the achievement, and a calm mind/body from the physical workout.
That was no small feat, considering the wound-up, anxious work brain I walked into the studio with.
My goal was to not pass out my first time around, and to set a baseline for progress. Mission accomplished.
Here’s what to expect if you are new to Power Yoga:
* You’ll start with light stretching and a focus on breathing. Remember what it feels like to let your breath lead — you’ll want to rely on your breath later
(when you feel like giving up).
* Then, the repetitive sequences begin. Basic moves and targeted muscle areas at first, preparing your body for the intensity of the workout coming. Enjoy these moments!
* Then, we go into about 30 minutes of repetitive sequences that are fast, and require strength and balance. Stay focused and in the moment — recognize how your body is reacting. At one point I felt lightheadedness coming on, and I opted out of about 20 seconds of the sequence, resting instead in Down Dog.
And that wasn’t the only time I had to catch a short rest. Sometimes I simply lagged behind Blake’s cadence and other times I spent a few extra breaths in a resting pose, or just standing on my two feet staring at the wall and refocusing. I didn’t try any of the advanced poses last night, like the back bends. I used to spend half my youth days in back bends and stretches and tumbling moves, so I knew I wasn’t ready. I knew the desk job was still being carried in my back, and I didn’t want to needlessly push it all at once (opposite of my approach last week).
If you try Power Yoga for the first time, my goal would be for you to not get frustrated with yourself, because that’s very anti-yoga practice. Blake will say if you lose balance and fall, just join back in, or if you need to rest longer, just join back in. At some point, everyone rested on the own or lost balance in a pose. NBD.
* Then we started to slowly reduce the intensity, doing core exercises like butterfly kicks, Superman pose, boat pose with all kinds of leg crossing and leg lifting. By now I was ready to be done.
* Then we started to lower the heart rate ❤️ with stretches and breathing. This took about 5 minutes and it was the time I spent reflecting back on the workout I’d just done — where I am naturally strong and what areas are going to be tougher for me as I continue to practice.
* Then, finally, the payoff – Shavasana. I was sweaty, I was a little fatigued, and I had one of the best damn Shavasanas of the entire last month. Very quiet-minded, at peace. That feeling lasted the entire rest of the day.
Please try it — and don’t expect perfection in yourself. Everyone is at a different level and pursuing their own practice and goals. Blake, as a strong intuitive teacher, leads the room well; no beginner nor advanced individual practice stands out more than the other.
I’ve now put 5:30 Power Yoga with Blake on my calendar for every Tuesday. I loved the combination of exertion, breathing, and balance, as well as the encouragement we got from Blake and each other.
It’s not an easy workout, which makes it an incredible workout.