Greatist Challenge: A Month of Yoga, Week 2

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My first full week is down, and I'm feeling good. Well, mostly good. Mentally, I feel great. Physically, I feel stronger (and skinnier) than I have in months (seriously). But I've also developed some sort of strain in my left ankle, my shoulders are super-sore (I'm basically commissioning shoulder massages from everyone I know), and I definitely strained the right side of my lower back somehow. Sighhh. It’s a good thing I'm going to a class called "Back Care" at Pure Yoga East tomorrow! Here's a little recap of my week:

Saturday I did a morning practice at home with this Yoga Download sequence because I was short on time. And I learned that I definitely feel more motivated in a class, because on my own, I half-ass everything. So, no more home practices unless A) I have a buddy to keep me moving or B) It's absolutely necessary.

Sunday morning I made my way to SoHo for a "Strong" class with Mike Taylor at Tara Stiles's Strala Yoga. I've been intrigued by Strala for months now after missing the team's first gractivity there (eight months ago!!) and reading about Tara in basically every health and fitness publication I read (oh, and, you know, The New York Times). Plus, Tara was one of our top health and fitness influencers of 2011, and basically sounded totally awesome. Well, Sunday's class with her husband Mike definitely lived up to the hype. When I arrived at the studio, Mike was there to open the door, welcoming the students into a cozy waiting room and the giant, high-ceiling studio. With tall windows at one end and paper lantern lights, the practice room was pretty much my perfect yoga setting. The class was challenging but not overly advanced and really just plain fun. An unnamed student requested core work that day (yikes!) and man, did I feel it for a few days. I'll definitely return for another class! Great start to my Saturday.

Monday night I had the pleasure of returning to Strala for Tara's "Relax" class with my Greatist Yoga buddy, Kelli! Tara and Mike were hanging out in the waiting room when we arrived and it was nice to finally meet Tara after talking via email for months! With a full moon outside and a few strands of colored Christmas lights on the pillars in the studio, the room might have actually been more perfect than the day before! One of the things I liked most about Strala is how they maintain the calm, open, (pardon the cliché) "zen" feeling of a yoga studio, but without the more traditional spiritual practices of yoga like chanting or even using the Sanskrit names for poses. It's still "spiritual," but while still being completely accessible to someone unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the more traditional ways of yoga. Overall, lets just say Greatist is a big fan of Strala. We'll be back soon!

Tuesday I made my way to Pure Yoga West. The studio (more like a yoga gym, I'd say) is owned by the gym giant Equinox, and gives off that feeling of a big-box gym more than an intimate or friendly studio. But regardless, it’s gorgeous, clean, and has all the amenities a big gym has that yoga studios typically don’t (lockers, showers, steam room, towels, and even super comfy seating areas!). The instructor of my Yin/Yang class, Kay Kay Clivio was great, and the class was a near-perfect balance of Vinyasa and restorative. The classroom is set up before each class with a mat and all the necessary props for each student. And while the mat itself was awesome (completely slip resistant!), the mats were set up so closely that, at one point, the woman in front of me actually grazed my head with her toe— and anyone who knows me knows how much I hate feet. Ick. I'm looking forward to visiting the East side location of Pure Yoga tomorrow for their Back Care class! Hopefully no one kicks my head, this time.

Wednesday Kelli and I returned to NYHRC on 23rd St. for a Vinyasa class with Julie Lyke. The class was very athletic and felt more like a fitness class than yoga, per se, which was refreshing! Plus, she played really fun music. Who doesn't like a little Super Bass and G6 blasting while pushing back into down dog? Plus, I got to cross something off my "Must Do" list! (A WHEEL!) From that point on, I couldn't stop smiling.

Thursday, with a slightly achy body (my shoulders hate down dog), I went back to my trusty Warm Vinyasa with Steven Cheng at NYHRC on 23rd St. It was great, as usual, and started off differently today, which was an exciting change! I like when I can go back to a class week after week and never have to do the same actual sequence twice!

Today, I went back to Alignment Yoga with Kelli at NYHRC 21st St. for some much-needed relaxation. Still, my ankle and back needed a bit more TLC, so I'm happy tomorrow will be a restorative class!

Hope you've enjoyed following me this week! Here's the coming week's schedule:

Saturday, February 11: Back Care, 12:15 – 1:15 at Pure Yoga East
Sunday, February 12: Community Class, 2 – 3pm at Yoga Agora in Astoria
Monday, February 13: Flow Fundamentals, 1– 2pm at Sonic Yoga (50th St. and 9th Ave.)
Tuesday, February 14: Restorative Yoga, 1 – 2:15pm at NYHRC 13th St.
Wednesday, February 15: Structural 1 with Brette Popper, 4:15 – 5:30 at Yoga Union (28th and Broadway)
Thursday, February 16: Prana Flow 1, 12:30 – 1:45, Sonic Yoga
Friday, February 17: Home practice (with my mom, to keep me accountable!)

And, I got to cross some stuff off my list this week! Here it is updated:

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Styles:

Iyengar
ISHTA
Bikram
Antigravity
Restorative
Ashtanga
Kirpalu
Caponyasa
Katonah
Yoga w/ Ropes (Hopefully at Yoga Union!)

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Poses:

Crow
Tripod headstand
Full boat
Wheel
Full Lotus
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I’ll continue posting updates on Tumblr after each class and Tweeting every day (from @ksmorin with the hashtag #greatistchallenge)— so keep following along!

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About the Author
Kate Morin
Health and food—and how they're related—have always interested me. I’ve been cooking since I could walk (literally). After spending years...

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