“Stretch Ma’am”: Yoga Class

Whenever I move to or visit a new city, it is always my top priority to find a yoga studio. After moving, settling in and finally getting internet, the next thing on my list was to hunt for a good studio that made me feel comfortable. I used a mix of Google Maps and Just Dial (a 411 like service) to find places nearby that seemed like they were worth a visit. I discovered a studio which is about a 10 minute walk from my house. It is the smaller sister studio to a bigger place in North Kolkata but it definitely has that community feel that I like in a studio.

Each class starts with about 2-3 people and then slowly more people trickle in within the first 10-15 minutes. The classes are usually made up of women with a few men sprinkled in. After class on Saturday, I stayed a little bit after and decided to introduce myself and chat with some of the women. They are all very nice and relatively young.

I attended my first class on Saturday morning and I plan to go everyday until school starts. The classes are power style yoga classes so they pack a physical punch. Most of the instructors in the classes that I have been to in the states hold each pose by counting in long deep breaths. Here the teachers count between 5 and 10 seconds for each pose. I usually like vinyasa style yoga where everything is connected through a flow. This is more of a “put your legs here and do this”. Depending on the teacher, the class usually starts with some P.E. style warm up activities like jogging in place or twisting from side to side. The stretching however is no joke. I have found that I am a lot more flexible in these classes because I walk in the warm morning heat which helps to loosen me up a bit. A lot of the classes are very similar to Bikram classes, we do the breathing exercises and a lot of the same asanas except these classes are an hour long and the room is air conditioned instead of 105 degrees.

Today’s class was the most intense so far. Great, but intense. The teacher counted to 15 seconds instead of the usual 10. He also had the ability to tell when I wasn’t pushing myself to my edge. He would look at me and say “stretch ma’am” until I was deep into my pose. The ab section was torture and he made us do the series twice even though most of us could barely do everything the first time. When he told us to go into our second boat pose there were many objections.  A lot of people gave up three or more seconds before the instructor finished counting. By the end of class I left feeling like a noodle, but also like a million bucks. A million dollar noodle.

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