I arranged my work travel to Sheffield in the early afternoon on Tuesday so I could work on the train and not waste hours of my evening travelling.
Having searched online to see if I would be able to go to a hot yoga class in Sheffield so that I could continue working towards my 14 classes this month, I found that there was a studio not too far from my hotel. There was a 60 minute hot hatha class at 17:45 and a 75 minute Yin class at 19:15 so I decided I’d do both classes to make up numbers 10 and 11 of the month.
When I got to the hotel I checked in, dumped my overnight bag and set off to the studio. Having sat on the train for a few hours I thought I’d walk. I was wearing my barefoot shoes and I’ve not yet done a long walk in them so I thought that it would be interesting to test them out. Turns out the studio was 2 miles from the hotel…..all uphill. It was quite the workout. It felt great on my feet though, after Sunday’s half marathon I found walking in the barefoot shoes allowed my feet to stretch and adapt to the ground I was walking on and it’s really helped my feet to recover. I desperately want to try running in them, so I may attempt that on treadmill soon before trying them out on the road.
When I got to the studio (already a sweaty mess) I signed in for the classes and found my space. The studio was small, probably room for 16 in total, but had a lovely ambiance. I hired a mat and towel for which I was asked to donate £2 to sponsor yoga classes for people in recovery from addictions. Namaste to that!
I parked myself on the back row (of 2) and just infront of a heater which actually got incredibly hot. The instructor was not Bikram trained and the class was clearly advertised as hot hatha, so I was advised that it would be quite different to Bikram but that it equally begins with a standing series before moving to the floor. We started in child’s pose before taking some cat and cows, then there were a few more familiar postures like half-moon and a variation of awkward. Overall the posture were less rigid and prescriptive than the Bikram method and there was a lot more focus on the breathing technique. I really enjoyed it.
I found new depth in some of my postures, and found the shift in focus from body to mind and breath exactly what I feel I’ve been searching for. Where Bikram method can be quite full on this was more relaxing and holistic. Bliss.
After the class I swapped out my towel (another £1 donation) and took time in savasana relaxing and meditating. The lights were turned down low leaving the room glowing a warm orange from the electric heaters and fairy lights. The class started with some incredibly gentle poses held for 3 to 5 minutes. I’ve really taken to Yin, I find it very soothing and like I am gettting stretches where I really need them – much deeper in the muscle and particularly in the muscles that get tight from running, like my glutes. It also allows really gradual opening of joints like the hips, so I feel it is the perfect Yin to the yang of Bikram.
One posture in the class involved laying on the floor and placing a block under the lowest part of the back, to raise the bum off the floor by a few inches. With the hips up we then straightened out our legs with our feet resting on the floor. The position was held for about 3 minutes during which I meditated, relaxed my muscles and breathed into my hip area as it opened up. Then the block was moved onto its side raising the hips further which was held for another 3 minutes and then finally the block was raised to its highest edge and the same pose held for another 3 minutes. It felt so incredible I nearly cried. I’ve been holding some tension in my lower back for a while with tightness around my right hip and this sequence of Yin postures was just the healing I needed.
I am officially in love with Yin.
These two classes gave me such a feeling of warmth, happiness and contentment. I realise that feeling has been missing in my practice recently – I’ve just be going through the motions trying to complete my 14 classes a month and not always engaging with the holistic and spiritual aspect of my practice. So I am acknowledging that a shift can be made there, and that I’m willing to make it.