Power yoga isn’t fun

Two days after my last yoga class and I am still aching. This may be partly because I didn’t go to a class last week and opted for a few laid back sessions at home instead (I’m fairly lazy when not be told what to do so that usually means short and only including easy postures). However I suspect that it is more likely to be the hardcore approach of the substitute yoga teacher taking the class.

Normally I quite like a substitute yoga teacher. It’s interesting to try out different styles, new sequences and alternative ways of getting into postures. I’m always on the look out for ideas for different classes I can go to for weeks when I can’t make my preferred Wednesday slot so it’s great for that too.

This substitute teacher was very different though. I should have  worried when he came through the door with arm muscles the size of my neck…The class started off easily enough, light stretches and waking up the body. So far so good. However we soon moved on to a very lengthy section on plank, straight armed planks, elbow plank, plank with alternate arms and legs off the floor. ….By the time we were finished with plank I was ready to give up! The class continued  to pick up the pace with sequencing moving from plough into balancing standing postures and back to plough.  The unseasonably warm weather I’d be loving earlier in the day started to make things even more hard going and I’m embarrassed to admit that I felt quite dizzy at certain points. The class ran over by 15 minutes and when I finally found my aching body in corpse pose I was ready to crash out right there and then!

None of the postures or sequences could be described as difficult but it was the approach that made the experience much more challenging.  The focus was on strength and power and pushing yourself’. ‘Power’ yoga has never sat very well with me.  There’s a competitive element  and a sense of pushing yourself to the limit which doesn’t fit with my perception of what yoga should be. I came to yoga partially because it discourages a sense of competition.  I am often too competitive both with myself and others and appreciate a space in which each person works at their own pace with their own strengths and weaknesses and in which there is no point in making comparisons. Power yoga changes the dynamic of a class making it more like a fitness class with a ‘no pain no gain’ ethos which I don’t like at all.

None of the above eases my aching body but I do feel better for a little rant about it!


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