If you’re like me, you need an outlet for pent-up stress; you’re exhausted and need a boost; you want those abs and arms you see on television, but the gym—ugh. Or, you really liked those Lululemon leggings you saw someone wearing at Whole Foods recently. Whatever the reason, I’ve taken one for the team and tried a class or two at all of the local yoga studios. Remember, these are my opinions only. Go find the right class for you. You’ll thank me later. Namaste.
I started my journey at JoyFlow Yoga (www.joyflowyoga.com). The first class was an Ashtanga yoga class: power yoga. I liked the sound of that. The website said prior knowledge of poses was recommended. I knew poses. I joined. This was a fantastic class, but the instructor and owner of Joyflow, Debi Lewis, kept steering me towards “easier” classes. Classes she felt I might enjoy more. Hmmm… Took her up on that offer and tried her signature Joyflow yoga class. This is a really good class for beginners, but not quite as much action as I prefer.
StudiOm Yoga (www.studiomyogaofms.com)was my next stop on this namawareness tour. This studio practices a branch of yoga called Iyengar yoga. This particular practice is heavy on instruction and alignment of the body, and uses cool blocks, ropes and other props to help students safely attain stretches. It took me a little while to get used to the instructor gently correcting me. However, it hit me mid-pose that for the first time in two years of practicing yoga, I was actually doing a pose perfectly. Namanice!
Tara Yoga (www.tara-yoga.net) is a little gem in Flowood that offers all levels of yoga and is very beginner-friendly. You might recognize the owner, Tara Blumenthal, from her Sunday afternoon classes at Lululemon. My first-ever class was taught by Tara, in which she wooed me to yoga by tailoring a class for runners. For the first time I thought that I could actually practice yoga … so that should tell you something about her classes.
I wish I had taken a Beginner’s Basics class from Butterfly Yoga (www.butterflyyoga.net) early in my practice. Had I done that early on, I might be able to take on some of the more challenging classes that it offers. Today I would follow that up with Butterfly’s free meditation class, which is a beneficial practice for all, no matter where you are on your yoga journey, or if you’re on one at all.
My final studio visit was to M Theory Yoga (www.mtheoryyoga.com). A word of warning: make sure you can shower after your class. The studio is warm and my instructor, Lea Pickard, doesn’t waste a minute of the class. There’s no socializing before or during. It’s all business, but don’t let that intimidate you. I took a M1 class, not quite “beginner,” but all levels are welcome. The room was lit only with tiny strings of light at the front and back of the studio. The class I took began with “Gold Dust Woman” and ended with “Landslide.” Tears were shed. All of gratitude. Namaste.