Monday, August 30, 2010

Becky is a Yoga Nerd

I've been doing yoga. Yes. I know. Seems unlikely, right? But I guess for folks like me, it can really come in handy if you can get the whole self-awareness and meditation thing down. I haven't yet, but hopefully I'm learning.

I joined for the exercise benefits as well as the idea that it might help with some of the stress I've been under lately. And this is why I decided to try Core Power Yoga. Well, that and the fact that the studio is so conveniently located that even I find it hard to talk myself out of going.

I started with a free trial period (if you're curious, most studios do offer some sort of new student discounts or free trials). Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with Core Power, they offer heated yoga classes -- not Bikram, which thanks to Pollack I've learned more about as well. Heated yoga burns twice as many calories as regular yoga, I discovered. And depending on which class you go to (each class is different) and which teacher you have (because they each have their own styles) you get a wide variety of yoga. So far I've really had great experiences at this studio. (I'm kind of addicted to the Saturday morning sculpt class. I'm not kidding. I'd go every day if I could.) I've been taking a variety of classes and only repeated teachers a few times (just because I've been playing with different time slots and different classes to see exactly what works best for me). Last week alone, I attended five different classes. For someone who has to force themselves to go to the gym, this is pretty big.

So it was kind of coincidental that I received a copy of Neal Pollack's Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude when I did. The book hit shelves on August 10, right about the same time I was starting classes.

Pollack, a comic writer who apparently went through a little bit of a literary bad boy phase a few years ago, came to yoga after an article called him doughy. And he became obsessed. From beginner classes at a 24-Hour Fitness to a now certified teacher himself, Pollack presents a hilarious look at his journey through the different kinds of yoga. Laugh out loud stuff, complete with a look at the ridiculous, the strange, and the fascinating aspects of yoga and the folks involved. As a newbie myself, I found this book seriously unputdownable. I'd find myself nodding along in his early days having to admit that I'm experiencing many of the same things myself.

I'm a new yoga dork. It's all I've been telling people about and it's become something that I have started scheduling the rest of my day around! Given Pollack's same growing obsession in his early days, I have to wonder what they're pumping into the studios! Kidding, I think it's a testament to the fact that yoga has an undeniable appeal and seemingly (hopefully) great results for the mind and the body.

I don't think I can really convey just how enormously amusing this book is, though. And guess what, you don't have to like yoga to enjoy Stretch. In fact, if you hate yoga, you might even find it more entertaining.

Sure, I can relate to the addictive nature of the classes and Pollack's section on farting in yoga class (I had to read this and a few other parts aloud to Mike!). Not that I've done what Pollack did, but I can't imagine it not being a total nightmarish fear for most students just starting -- I know it's been one of mine! Fortunately, I've not been to any classes with truly self-obsessed or strange yogis, nor have I seen any of the real yoga culture outside of the classes I've attended. We're talking music festivals, crazy retreats, styles I can't even begin to imagine (though I'm sure they're hiding in the Boulder area). I've no doubt, however, that anyone who picks this book up will have a difficult time not dissolving into uncontrollable laughter as they read about Pollack's experiences, whether they've been there themselves or not. No doubt at all. And maybe you'll be tempted to try a class, or not. Either way, this is a fantastic book.

And for those of you interested, Pollack is touring with his book as we speak. He's set for a Denver appearance next month and I definitely plan on attending.

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