I mostly run outside, so as long as I’m not injured, I don’t need a gym (although, it is really nice to have a place in town to shower after a run). The Charlottesville facilities allow me to pay for a month here and there, which I do when the weather is bad or I’m dealing with an injury.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to make yoga a weekly habit.
The city offers several yoga classes. When I first joined, there was a Vinyasa class that I absolutely loved. But the instructor left, the class was canceled, and four years later I still haven’t found a yoga class there that I like that I am able to attend on a regular basis.
ACAC offers more than a dozen yoga classes every day. ACAC also costs twice as much as I am used to paying for a gym, and I’m pretty sure they don’t allow you to pay by the month. However, for a few weeks before New Year’s Day, they were offering a special “Gift of Wellness” deal of 4 weeks for $49. That’s the same monthly rate I pay for my current gym, so I signed up.
My membership started on January 5th. There was a multi-level Kripalu style yoga class at 9am that morning. I was not familiar with Kripalu style yoga, but a quick internet search assured me that it probably wouldn’t be (overly) strenuous, or involve an hour of chanting. In other words, it sounded like it might work for me.
The class was at the Albemarle Square location of ACAC, which is further from my house than the Downtown location. I had run 16 miles in 17 degree weather the day before and was still feeling the effects (I was tired!). There was also slushy freezing rain falling from the sky. My tiredness and the nasty weather outside caused me to linger over my morning coffee longer than I had planned. My intention had been to run 4 or 5 easy miles on the treadmill before class, but I didn’t make it there in time to do that.
Instead, I did a quick walk-through and checked everything out. The facility is huge compared to where I usually work out.
I found an Adaptive Motion Trainer (my favorite non-treadmill piece of cardio equipment) and did 5 minutes, followed by 10 TRX push-ups (my gym doesn’t have a TRX). I then did 5 minutes on a new-to-me cardio machine that involved lateral leg motion (kind of like speed skating) followed by 10 more TRX push-ups, and then 5 minutes on the ARC trainer, and 10 more push-ups.
I was on my way to do 5 minutes on a bike, when I saw a familiar face. It was one of my first-ever (and also one of my favorite) personal training clients, who I hadn’t seen since I’d left that job about 5 years ago. We spent a few minutes catching up, and then she mentioned that her husband was taking the 9am yoga class. I told her I was, too, and she said “you better get going then, it’s about to start!”
She was right. As I entered the Mind Body Studio, I was quickly reminded why I like to get to classes early. It was packed! The only space left was in the very front of the room. My spot was actually right next to the yoga instructor. I had to turn sideways to see what he was doing. Not good.
The instructor turned out to be a substitute who wasn’t familiar with Kripalu style yoga. Instead, he taught what I think of as a Hatha Flow style class. He moved very quickly through poses, which is the kind of class I most enjoy, although not the kind of class I think I benefit from the most.
Even though we moved quickly through poses, it didn’t feel particularly strenuous because we did a lot of seated poses and balance poses.
I enjoyed the class and left feeling calm and happy, which, for me, is the ultimate goal of any yoga practice.
I’m still curious about Kripalu style yoga, though. I may have to try this class again when the regular instructor is teaching.