When I signed up for a six week session of Gentle Yoga classes, I didn’t realize that September is National Yoga Month. What perfect timing for my newest activity...gentle yoga.
In prior years, the National MS Society’s local chapter has worked with Fairfax County recreation centers to offer MS-friendly yoga and water classes. Although I live in Fairfax County, the locations and timings of these classes were never convenient for my schedule.
A few weeks ago, I received an NMSS email which listed new adaptive yoga classes offered by the hospital system in Arlington County. The two weekly classes mentioned in the email would fit my schedule perfectly and were to take place less than 3 miles from my house. So I went online to see about registering.
What I discovered was a full range of classes including a Gentle Yoga class which looked more attractive. It was 90 minutes, instead of 60 minutes. I assumed that this class would also not be quite so “adaptive.” I didn’t hesitate too long before snatching up one of the remaining four spots. I’m glad I did because the class sold out and we had our first session yesterday morning.
I really liked my previous yoga instructor, but for some reason I was not interested in going back to his class. The last few times I did go, I felt limited and unable to keep up although I definitely gave myself the freedom to not push myself. I just felt not as capable as I wanted to feel.
When I arrived for the Gentle Yoga class yesterday, the instructor had us sign the typical release form to partake in the exercise class. I wondered if the instructor was going to ask if each person had any special health concerns. I waited to find out, rather than offer up the information that I have multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The instructor did not ask us any health questions, but I did notice that as different students entered the welcome area, she knew details of each previous student’s concerns. One woman said that she wasn’t sure if she could do the “downward dog” on that day. Another person mentioned an ankle which had been injured. I was just quiet and observed the persons who arrived for class.
As class began, “Sam” the instructor gave us a idea of the type of things we would be doing. She takes a very traditional yoga approach and made it clear that this class was not one focused on pushing ourselves to our limits. We should never feel pain. If there is pain, then we’re not doing yoga.
Sam started that class with breathing and awareness/relaxation exercises which were surprisingly hard for me to do. I’ve lost a bit of body awareness I guess. Just mentally telling a muscle to relax was difficult. I needed to actually move and tighten muscles before they would let loose a little. Gravity was not enough to “sink” into the floor.