For the past few years, my primary yoga practice has existed in my home. This was not my ideal situation, but due to my schedule, Michael's schedule, and DC traffic, it was easier to be consistent this way. It definitely taught me more discipline and motivation within my practice, and introduced me to new things (YogaGlo, anyone?).
Even with my personal practice thriving (most of the time), I would get myself in a studio at least once every few weeks. I would bounce around to different studios because there are SO many to choose from in the Bethesda area, and I never found a studio/class/instructor that I especially bonded with.
My favorite mat: Manduka eKO Lite
Having said all that, I expected to take my usual show on the road this year... Although I did have a panic moment when I thought my yoga mats wouldn't fit in the car. Thanks for talking me down off the ledge on that one, mom :) Then I arrived at Fort Hood.
The first time I rolled out my mat on the motel room floor and stretched into adho mukha svanasana, I realized that there were several issues with a possible 'home' practice.
1) Space. I have practiced in the most crowded of yoga studios, with a man on my right and a woman on my left, both sweating onto ME and MY mat. I can deal with that. This was different... bumping into a bubbling crock pot wouldn't be as forgiving as a stranger's body odor.
2) The musty carpet. Ideally, my practice is accompanied by candles and incense, not the smells of slightly damp carpet that has seen... I don't even want to go there. Bottom line, the carpet doesn't smell like anything I want to be putting my face near.
3) Space. I like to be a little adventurous and ambitious in my yoga practice. There is no way that I could adequately work on my visvamitrasana or vrchikasana in the space between the bed and the dresser/'pantry'.
For these reasons, I decided to look elsewhere for yoga. I was hoping for a studio and ready to settle for a gym class, but I couldn't find any evidence of yoga anywhere!
Yesterday I finally found a class that was starting up at one of the gyms on post (there are seven different gyms on post... are you getting the idea that this base is enormous?). Woo hoo!
I was totally psyched to try it out, but knowing what I do about base gyms, I had realistic expectations.
When I first arrived at the Applied Fitness Center, I walked into an open room filled with weight-lifting equipment, wall-to-wall padded flooring for dropping weights, and men screaming/cringing/whatever-you-would-call-those-noises as they picked up heavy things. "Where is the yoga class?", I asked with a hopeful smile.
As I walked into a door-less room twenty feet down the hall from the weight-lifting mania, I was surprised to see so many people! There were nearly 25 men and women arranged in this room... fifteen minutes before class was supposed to start. The popularity of this class was a good sign.
The class ticked along much like any hatha/vinyasa flow. The instructor wasn't especially 'yogic' or 'mind/body' aware, but at least she reminded us to breathe every now and again. She kept the focus on core strengthening and chest openers, for the most part, which was refreshing compared to my typical hip-opener personal practice. I enjoyed the work-out aspect of the class, but there was a lot to be desired, otherwise.
I'm not going to go into detail about the less-than-ideal parts of this class because I don't want to sound like I am ranting. It was a free yoga class about a mile and a half away from our motel room, and I am extremely grateful!! However, these are the issues I had:
1) The extremely low rise pants on the woman practicing in front of me.
2) No music.
3) The screaming (or whatever-you-would-call-those-noises they were making) weight-lifters.
4) The men who started leaving about two-thirds through class in order to go back to work. Their farewells to their buddies and the instructor was especially disruptive during our standing sequences, inversions and savasana.
I'll stop there. In a way, my frustrations allowed me to stay focused on my practice. With every breath I exhaled, I let go more of the little details I expect in order to really enjoy a class. Not every class can be as yummy as one of Lisa's or Kate's (two of my all-time favorite instructors), or as intense as a class at Down Dog . I realized that it was up to me to get what I needed from the class I was attending in that moment, so I did :) I will be attending that class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until we leave Fort Hood, and I will enjoy it as much as I can every single time!