A new wrinkle to my yoga practice

I took two one-hour yoga classes at my gym this past weekend. It’s advertised as Ashtanga yoga, but I think Bally Fitness is stretching the definition. I suspect it’s closer to Pilates than Mysore. Compared to my vinyasa I classes at TranquilSpace, it was relatively easy.

There was strong attendance — the exercise area was full, though a more orderly approach might have crammed more people into the space — both on a Friday evening and a Sunday morning. I’d think around 30 people, maybe more. It was a mixed bag of students — older, retirement age folks and younger people. I got the impression this was an opportunity for people to get their toes wet in the yogic ocean. Some people did not have much body-awareness.

Loud, upbeat music — no Krishna Das kirtan chants — and the instructor, Sophia, was miked so that her voice could be heard over the clanging weights and exercise machines. She led the class as if it were an aerobics class, from a podium. I saw her come down once to correct someone technique. She verbally corrected a few others. At TransquilSpace, you get a lots more hands on teaching. Physical space is definitely tighter, but the atmosphere is more conducive to yoga.

We did lots of sun salutations, but kept them pretty simple. She demoed several modifications if anyone wanted to be adventurous. No inversions — you don’t want to embarrass novices before the whole gym so that they never come back.

Hey, the classes are free with Bally membership so you can’t complain.

I view this as kind of halfway between my TranquilSpace classes and my home practice. It will improve my overall conditioning and flexibility and make me work on problem areas (balance, for instance). I can do a cardiovascular workout either before or afterwards. I could easy outgrow the group because it does not offer much learning space.