Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chanting is Just Not My Thing

Finally - the post you've all been waiting for!  First of all, I must preface this post by apologizing to all yogi's and lovers of this style of yoga.  I am in no way trying to make fun of you or be intolerant.  I can fully understand that some people might like this kind of thing, but it was just not for me.  I also might have hated it less liked it more if I had known what to expect ahead of time (and not expected this to be my workout). 

Okay, glad I got that political-correctness out of the way.

Lisa recently joined a new yoga studio via a Groupon and Jordanne and I decided to hop on board with the 7 classes for $7 newbie deal.  I went to a standard 60 minute Hatha class with Lisa on Monday and it was very similar to other hot yoga classes I've been to before (aka an amazing workout), maybe with just a tad bit more "third eye" talk than I'm used to / like.

So Sunday book club brunch was on the agenda, and since I like to "earn" my brunch with exercise beforehand, Jordanne and I decided to go to the only class before brunch, a 9:30am "Kundalini" yoga class.  Neither of us had any clue what this was, but figured that no matter what, we'd get a good workout in.


Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it: "Kundalini yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline for developing strength, awareness, character, and consciousness. Practitioners call Kundalini yoga the yoga of awareness because it focuses primarily on practices that expand sensory awareness and intuition in order to raise individual consciousness and merge it with the Infinite consciousness of God Brahman. Considered an advanced form of yoga and meditation, its purpose is to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others."  Uh, yeaahhh.  Maybe I should have read this before I went. 

Our first clue that this class might not be for us should have been that despite being a prime time slot, there were 3 other people there.  To give you context, there were about 30 people waiting to come into the regular Hatha class following this one.

The second clue should have been that the instructor (as well as the only other student who'd taken this class before) were sitting on bear rugs.  BEAR RUGS.

I lied, apparently it can also be a leopard rug.  source

The third clue should have been that the instructor was wearing "white flowing linen garments" and "a white headress" (as one should wear, I learned this after googling Kundalini yoga).

See?  A bear rug and white headdresses.  I'm not making this stuff up people. source

After these clues, I still laughed and figure it'd be a new and interesting experience, but again, at least we'd get a good workout in.


I probably burnt 50 calories in this whole 75 minute class of CHANTING.  We did not stand once the whole entire time.  We "rested" for over half the class.  At one point, we got with a partner and DISCUSSED trust and communication.  We ended the class by SINGING.  We chanted some string of words in another language over 100 times.  The chanting and exercises (like shrugging your shoulders) would go on and on and on and on and ON, having no idea when (if ever) we would ever be able to stop.

Shoulder Shrugs = Harder than you'd think. source

We had to do everything WITH OUR EYES CLOSED.  How you're supposed to know what you're supposed to be doing with your eyes closed, I have no idea.

The whole entire thing was seriously TORTUROUS.  I was dying to leave THE. ENTIRE. TIME.  If there had been more than 5 people there and I could have left inconspicuously (and we weren't literally locked in, this is how hot yoga studios do it in case you weren't aware), I would have.  But I was trapped.

Side Bends
This is one of the exercises we did.  It doesn't look hard, until you do it for 10 minutes without stopping and without any idea of when you're EVER going to be able to stop.  source

We sat cross-legged 90% of the entire class.  I don't know if this is because I'm a runner or because I'm the least flexible person on earth (or a combination), but my hips were SCREAMING.  The workout for me was the torture of my hips being cross-legged for over an hour straight.  The other 10% of class we spent sitting on our heels, during which my ankles were crying.

We did this 26 times.  That was the ONLY thing I liked about the class: I liked that the number they used for exercise repeats was marathon-related (I'm sure not on purpose). source

Are you getting the picture here?  This tweet pretty much sums it up:

I would seriously not go back to that class if you paid me.  Okay, maybe I would if you paid me a lot.  
Do you like yoga?  Have you ever tried KUNDALINI YOGA?  What did you think?  Have I totally offended some of you?  I didn't mean to.