Thursday, February 24, 2011

So Many Yoga Studios

My usual yoga schedule has been disrupted these last two months so I've been grabbing classes when and where I can. Consistency is good, but if I can't have routine I will revel in newness. Here are studios I've been to lately.

Yoga Eight
University Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin

Dropped in for a class at Yoga Eight in Madison--my first time there. I was doubly lucky to find a knowledgeable teacher AND be the only student at that particular session. Wow.

Dave, the teacher/owner, offers a more eastern ashtanga approach. Form, breathing, and historical asanas were key. Loved the little details of how to flow from one position to another: a rotation or hop, almost a dance as we moved through clusters of poses.

The registration form asked if I was comfortable with adjustments - bring them on! I answered "yes!" So Dave lightly assisted in some variations on tree, a more open triangle.

Because I was the only student in this relatively new studio, Dave added or subtracted difficulty according to my ability. For example, I've never been one to hop from forward fold to plank -- I'm more of a one-backward-lunging-step-at-a-time sort of yogini. But Dave demonstrated a very doable introduction to that elegant hop into plank. I was so excited at the discovery that I could do at least SOME of the hop that I had to demonstrate this to my husband later.

If you stop in at Yoga Eight you'll find glowing northern light and a more eastern, classic instruction.

It's All About You Yoga
Baraboo, Wisconsin

When you practice at It's All About You yoga studio you are truly being welcomed into Tatsiana's Baraboo home. The1950s house is one of few left in the businessy area near the courthouse square; it is the home of yoga instructor Tatsiana, and her husband, and toddler. Step into an alcove to remove shoes, and step into a sweet-colored space that was the family room in another incarnation. The room holds about six practitioners.

Tatsiana has been teaching for a few years, building her knowledge and her practice. The two classes I attended clustered classic poses into groups that moved with the breath.

I first met Tatsiana in 2006 as a fellow student at the Baraboo Yoga Studio under Dennison and Matthew, both excellent instructors. Tatsiana brings reverberations of those classes and adds her own touches, focusing on the joy of yoga practice; she encourages a gentle smile and finishes class with a group song of happiness.

A Perfect Knot
Just off Willy Street in Madison, Wisconsin
Carla, the propreitress of A Perfect Knot
is a lovely teacher.
Hot yoga? well, why not! My first experience of Bikram's yoga was wonderful.

I always get a little nervous upon entering a new yoga studio when everyone is really buff, quiet, and serious. That was my first impression at A Perfect Knot. Then the instructor walked in and everything changed. Carla lit up the room. The serious smiled. The buff donned polka-dot jammy pants. The silence became deep, satisfying breathing.

This is a home-grown studio, with a feel of life. The community knows what a gem they have: the room was filled to capacity, mats less than two feet from each other. Carla spoke to us by name and gave us opportunities to encourage our neighbors. She knows how to create a harmony.

Ninety minutes in 90 degrees was remarkably tranquil and therapeutic. Yes, we did strengthening poses and dripped sweat. We did lots of balance poses and twists (very little dog). We used our towels, drank our water, and felt our muscles relax in the heat until they felt truly massaged. 

I will attend again.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Marathon: Green Bay in May

The cats are spraying inside the house and the salt on the car is wearing off in spots: ah, the precursors of spring.

The eight kitties who call our home theirs would have less cabin fever if they were training for a marathon. I run only two days a week (week seven starts today) and find that's enough to see the season's subtle change: salt build-up is crunchier underfoot.

I cover my face with Eucerine 'cause you KNOW the whipping wind will dry the lips and coax out tears and snot. "Where did you get your tan?" I've been asked. But it's just the sweet potatoes and the winter wind.

Change of plan: signed up for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, May 15. That's two weeks earlier than the Madison Marathon I had been considering.

Mileage: 81 miles run, 307 to go.