Those who know me offline are aware that I despise almost all forms of exercise. Rote, repetitive movements, meat heads grunting and dropping dumbbells on the floor, chicks in pony tails and ear buds running on treadmills... all serve to repel me. That is why "discovering" yoga felt like a revelation. Not off putting fashion lalalimey, or unattainable cirque du soliel yoga, but actual "tell the instructor you got a bum knee" yoga with copious blocks, straps, blankets, mats, bolsters, and even chairs.
I speak of Iyengar yoga. In the class I wandered into were senior ladies doing sun salutes next to hard bodies and chubby bodies alike. These were ordinary people striving, learning, tipping over, and trying again. At one point the students stopped and helped each other feel what it's like to be in a perfect down dog: shoulders broad, neck relaxed, and a straight line from hips to hands. The whole thing was lead by a tall elegant man with a mellifluous voice and a humble papa bear personality. His words of wisdom echo in my mind even outside of class: ”you are your own guru,” ”do what you can do, be happy with what you can do,”"lengthen the exhale," and of course, ”soften the face." I knew he was conducting class with me in mind when he asked us to stand with our feet together, "heels touching, big toe mounds touching," then followed this directive with the adjustment, "those with fuller thighs may stand with their feet hip width apart." "Yes!" I thought, "He's looking out for me!" That first day I took heart, stayed, and learned.
Since then I have also sampled Kundalini, Hatha, and Vinyasa styles. While Kudalini was too hard, the Hatha classes were too soft, and Vinyasa was just right, Kundalini taught me something incredibly important: always drink your chai.
Yogi chai tea is just the thing to help your body recover from a great yoga class, no matter what style you prefer. I make it caffeine free with rooibos, while traditional recipes call for a tiny amount of black tea. It will soothe your muscles, stoke your digestive fire, and save you from flu season. I swear by it and drink it by the gallon. In fact I am drinking some right now to speed my recovery from a sprained ankle because ginger helps inflammation. Even if it is all placebo effect I don't care cuz the stuff is delicious!