Rediscovering Yoga: Cruel Intentions and First Impressions

This past semester for a semester long project I started practicing yoga.  Over the next three days I will be posting my experience in three parts.  It can be seen as yoga week here at our blog.  Enjoy.

Sometimes I wish that ideas and inspiration for projects came to me like how wands choose wizards in Harry Potter.  It would make things so much easier.  I thought choosing a project for 4100 this semester would have been tougher.  I wasn’t sure if I could think of a project which would be sustainable for the entire semester.  I couldn’t pick something super easy but I also didn’t want to pick something super intimidating that I wouldn’t do.  Before the semester began, I was thinking about yoga as my project.  I’m not sure why, I think the main reason was I wanted to start doing it again.  I was home for almost a month for semester break which was a week too long.  It was a Wednesday night the week before I was going back to Vancouver and I was bored enough to go to a hot yoga class.  It was great.  I went to the studio which I practiced when I was going regularly.  I think I stopped because I began playing basketball again and I had practice every night.

This project gave me an excuse to take it up again and reconnect.  My initial thought was this will be a good work out to pair with lifting.  I’m getting older now and if an older person read this they would shake their head and tell me that I’m not old in any capacity.  It’s true; there are things I can’t do that I could do when I was in my prime party years.  For instance, I don’t recover from drinking as fast as I used to.  Before I could go out four or five nights in a row and be fine.  Now I may have to plan out exactly how the night goes so I can be functional the next day.  I take back my point about me not being old in any capacity.  My liver is older than I am.  From when I was eighteen to about twenty-one my liver aged in dog years.  On a related note I still can eat basically whatever I want but in the back of mind I understand my metabolism is slowing down.  I would like to think I’m in decent shape, not as good shape I was when I played basketball but haven’t lost everything either.  Being an athlete for the majority of your life, working out doesn’t feel like a chore.  Its habit for me, I couldn’t imagine my life if I didn’t.

Is part of it a body image thing?  Of course.  Growing up I was skinny, so when people wonder why I work out it’s because I don’t want to be that size anymore.  I understand I’m not a super big guy and I wouldn’t want to be.  I work hard so I don’t revert back to being super skinny.  It’s sad that the majority of girls would kill for that problem (another issue for later).  However, my worry isn’t being skinny anymore, it’s being skinny fat.  I don’t need to have muscles on muscles just lean and cut.  I started doing yoga to help with this.  The reasoning was: yoga works out parts of my body that I wouldn’t when lifting.  It will open up parts of my body that I didn’t know exists.  Conclusion – main reason for me to start yoga again: complete and total vanity project.

It has been two or three years since I did yoga regularly.  When I was doing it I wasn’t a master at it.  So I knew I wasn’t going to be great at it and I’m still not great at it.  The next step was finding a studio to go to that had a class which was comparable to the one I did in Calgary.  I Googled ‘yoga studios in Vancouver’.  The first one which came up was YYoga.  They offer a class called “Power” and it was exactly what I was looking for.  Next question was: how much?  First class is free and for new students they offer a $40 for the first month unlimited deal.  When is this class offered and where?  Saturdays and Sundays at noon.  Not too early if I went out the night before and not too late in the day so I still had my Saturday and Sunday to do stuff.  They have studios all over Vancouver, one specifically in Yaletown.  Sold.

I’m not sure if it’s luck, coincidence, or if it was meant to be.  If it were up to me I wouldn’t give credit to any of those things.  However, I wouldn’t argue against those things after my first Power class on the following Sunday.  I call it opportunity and I took advantage of it the fact that there is a Power class offered at noon on Sundays in Yaletown.  I couldn’t have asked for a better re-introduction to yoga.  The Sunday class is taught by Alex Mazeroelle and I was hooked afterwards.  The only thing I remember from the class was her energy, the class was full, and this studio played music during class.  During the core section of the class, old school rap came on and I thought I could get used to this.

The following week, I looked into other Power classes.  I went to a Friday night class taught by Aili Storen and it was a fun class as well.  Totally different vibe than the one I did with Alex.  However, this wasn’t a bad thing.  The teachers put their signature on their classes.  Of course my reaction was ‘I wonder what other teachers are like’.  I went to the noon Power class on Saturday taught by Carolyn Budgell.  And of course Alex’s class again.  Three days of yoga in a row.  Why not?

I remember my second class with Alex for one reason:  I went out the Saturday night before.  I didn’t drink too much but I was out late.  Late enough that I slept in a bit and might have had stamps on my wrists from the places I went to the night before.  You could tell I wasn’t all quite there yet.  The class had just begun and we were getting in touch with our breath and she said something like, “Your breath can be used to push out the bad and take in the good.  Maybe push out some of the bad you took in last night.”  I laughed.  She turns to my direction and adds, “We now know who took in the bad.”

Part Two of Rediscovering Yoga will be posted tomorrow.

It’s Like I Have ESPN or Something – Nicole

Calling this process of falling madly in love with yoga again a total vanity project?  Total cop-out, and Irving, I am calling you out on this.

Often after his yoga classes, both the initial ones in Calgary, and the ones in Van which he so adores, Irving fires me off a text.  Never are these texts anywhere near the realm of vanity.  Even when theses texts address bodily aches, pains, or muscles, they fall strictly in the category of love.  They scream of the total agony of being in love.  I receive texts ripe with the messy lessons of yoga love – the tidbits of knowledge his instructors share that run through his brain well after class wraps up, the burning satisfaction of conquering a tricky pose, the outright pride that stems from a class where the mix of challenge and success meld to form perfection.  That’s what I read Irving saying in those texts.  They’re about being totally in love and you can’t do a darn thing about it.  Irving’s project is stuffed so full of love that any thoughts of being ‘skinny fat’ are smushed flat: it’s straight up yoga love fueling this project.

Go make new friends, Vanity. We don’t need you.

Irving Chong (@Irving_Chong) and Nicole (@_nicoliooo) are co-creators of This is Why we Can’t Have Nice Things even though it doesn’t make sense why they’re friends.

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3 thoughts on “Rediscovering Yoga: Cruel Intentions and First Impressions

  1. Rediscovering Yoga: My Name is Irving and I’m Addicted to Yoga | This is Why we Can't Have Nice Things

  2. Rediscovering Yoga: Yoga Matters | This is Why we Can't Have Nice Things

  3. What’s Another Eleven Days? – This is Why we Can't Have Nice Things

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