At the height of Summer, there is a reduced schedule of classes at my regular yoga shala and so I use the opportunity to explore other yoga schools and practices. This week I took a Vinyasa class at The Yoga Room which is located in Dublin and looks out onto a beautiful zen garden with tropical ferns and bamboo trees.Arriving at the shala, I feel like ‘the new girl’ as I try and figure out where to roll out my mat and leave my bag. Its exciting to try something different but it can be a little intimidating especially when you are waiting in silence for the class to begin. Vinyasa Yoga brings together a variety of yoga poses which are synchronized with the breath in an uninterrupted flow of movements. Classes vary depending on the aptitude of the pupils and the style of the teacher. In addition, unlike the more stricter Ashtanga practise, Vinyasa is often instructed with background music and as a result has a more relaxed vibe about it.
We start by bringing our awareness to our breath and do some gentle stretching exercises to loosen the lower back, spine and shoulders. We move into a series of Sun salutations and start to add a variety of postures to each variation first on the right side and then on the left. Some of the postures are familiar and some are new. I try and find my balance during the Three Legged Downward facing dog, the Crescent Lunge, and the Reverse Warrior. All are beautiful poses but require a certain amount of skill and practice. I am reminded of the often quoted yoga phrase “Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory” and try and do my best. Its difficult to keep focused on my breath as I try and master the poses. Its also harder to not be self-aware when you don’t know whats coming next in the sequence. I have to admit that as much as I enjoy the class, there is a small sense of relief when it draws to a close.
Trying out a new yoga class makes me reflect on my own practice. While it hasn’t advanced much in the eight years I have been practicing, it is steady and familiar to me. I find that I can focus inwards and follow my breath because I know what I am doing. I chat to the teacher at the end of the class and discuss whether or not its a good thing to experiment with other types of yoga or keep continuing to improve on what you know. My sense is that you need to establish a well established yoga practise that you enjoy and then every once in a while try out new things, so you don’t get too attached or stuck in a rut. Ultimately it’s about finding the time to practise. Why not let it be a Vinyasa Flow class to unwind and let go.