Challenge: Ten Days of Yoga for a Tenner
Written by: Gráinne Regan
Our new contributor tried out the More Fit ten day yoga challenge in Finsbury Park. After a barage of head banging crows, sweaty chanting and hungover meditation, did she become a zen goddess yogi bear?
I’ve long harboured dreams of becoming a yogi – a graceful, supple, Lulumelon-clad siren, effortlessly moving through the streets, occasionally stopping at traffic lights to touch my toes and demonstrate my supreme flexibility. Up until now, tight limbs and an even tighter budget have prevented me from realising my guru potential. However, I recently came across an offer that was too good to pass up – 10 days of yoga for £10 with More Yoga! This was it; this was my time to finally embrace the mindful swan hidden inside my rambunctious and destructive being. I hot footed it over to More Yoga and signed myself up, subconsciously planning my yoga outfits whilst clicking Submit.
Five minutes later, I was consumed by an overwhelming sense of regret.
Who was I kidding? I’m the kind of person who regularly twists my ankle walking on perfectly flat ground. I’m usually covered in bruises from cupboards and doors that refuse to get out of my way and I’ve developed a reputation for a walk so ferocious it has woken up flatmates.
I’d committed though and that was that. There was nothing for it but to wrap my bruised legs in lycra and embrace my inner yoga warrior princess.
Day 1 – Restorative and Meditation
Wracked with nerves, I awkwardly waited outside the yoga studio, restlessly eyeing up my fellow yogi bears. Deep breaths. Two words that would become engrained in my mind over the next ten days. I’d decided to ease myself in with a meditation class which, as it turns out, was a great call. I’ve always been good at sleeping and found the physical element of the class pretty easy. Granted, it was quite difficult to switch off and achieve a sense of zen but I survived and that’s what matters.
Day 2 – Morning Flow
Walking into class at 8am, I was overwhelmed with smugness. I was finally one of those people that achieved things before 9 in the morning. Propping my eyes open, I launched into quite a strenuous routine, challenging my lazy limbs. Thankfully, the teacher demonstrated each of the poses and assisted whenever I struggled. Despite my stomach crying out for a bowl of Crunchy Nut half way through, the class was a success and the content feeling of self-satisfaction continued all day.
Day 3 –Jivamukti
Following a 5K park run first thing, I jogged to my Jivamukti class to set myself up for the weekend. I CANNOT BELIEVE I JUST TYPED THAT LAST SENTENCE. I AM A PRODUCTIVE ZEN GODDESS. Namaste. After two classes, I considered myself ready for an Intermediate level session… I’ve always been ambitious. Despite falling flat on my face while attempting a crow, the class wasn’t a complete disaster. The tattooed teacher was by far the most intense I’d experienced in my three days as a wannabe-yogi. Between the failed head stands, crows and Sanskrit chanting, I was definitely in the deep end and could feel the burn for the next 24 hours.
Day 4 –Restorative and Meditation
Hungover yoga. Thank goodness I picked a Meditation class. Basically spent the hour lying down and snoozing.
Day 5 –Jivamukti
At the start of the class, the teacher asked everyone why they were doing yoga. Most people mentioned the physical benefits, some mentioned peace of mind and a few talked about spiritual enlightenment. I’m not sure if yoga will ever be about spirituality for me, but I was definitely starting to appreciate the peace of mind I felt when I successfully switched off my incessantly busy brain. This class was a lot easier than the previous Jivamukti class I did on Day 3 and was accompanied by a banging playlist.
Day 6 –Yogasana
By Day 6, yoga had very much embedded itself in my daily routine and I found myself craving some downward facing dog time by mid-afternoon. Yogasana was a high-octane class that got my heart pumping and sweat flowing. The perfect end to a Tuesday spent sitting at a desk.
Day 7 –Vinyasa Flow and Forrest
I decided to go to an early morning class before work so I could keep my evening free to watch Bake Off. #Priorities. I must say that by this stage, my body was really starting to feel the effects of seven consecutive days of unfamiliar movement. Every single muscle ached. Forrest yoga challenged a whole new set of muscles with the temperature turned up and whilst I felt briefly invigorated, I must admit that I spent most of the day exhausted.
Day 8 –Restorative and Meditation
After the previous class of early morning pain, I decided to take a day to allow my muscles to heal and took part in a gentle evening Restorative class making sure not to push myself too far.
Day 9 –Morning Flow
I dragged myself to the 6:45am session as it was the only class that I was able to attend on this particularly hectic Friday. Feeling slightly better after my gentle class the previous evening and bolstered by a good night’s sleep, I gave this class my all. The Morning Flow classes were definitely my favourite out of all those I tried due to the lovely teacher, reasonable pace and range of poses.
Day 10 –Vinyasa Flow
Tempted as I was to finish my ten-day challenge with a nice relaxing Restorative class, I decided to instead sweat out my Friday night party guilt with a Vinyasa Flow class. By this stage, I didn’t feel completely out of place in an Intermediate level class as I had quickly become familiar with the basic poses and realised that there was no shame in reverting into a restful child’s pose if it all got too much. This was the one thing that was stressed in each of the classes – “go at your own pace because you know your body best”.
And so I triumphantly emerged from my yoga cocoon a graceful, calm and collected butterfly. The ten-day experience has completely transformed my thoughts on the practice. I’ve learned a lot – trying to do yoga with a cold is hard, different teachers have very distinct styles, crows are nigh on impossible and the practice of certain types of yoga is more physically demanding than I ever anticipated. No longer am I intimidated by the idea of heading to a yoga class on my own and I intend to keep practising until I master the elusive headstand. Unfortunately, yoga has not cured me of my inherent clumsiness or spatial ignorance BUT, the good news is, I can now touch my toes!
If my metamorphosis has inspired you to give yoga a try yourself, More Yoga have extended their fab £10 for 10 consecutive classes introductory offer until the end of the year. They have studios in Finsbury Park, Cannon Street, Exmouth Market, Old Street and St Paul’s. Even if you only make it to a few classes during the ten-day period, it’s still fantastic value!
Photos courtesy of More Fit
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