The first day I stepped foot in the studio doors at Oxygen Yoga and Fitness Port Moody, I had no idea what to expect. In the past, I tried some Bikram yoga. I remember the heat feeling pretty much unbearable, and being afraid to leave the room because I ‘heard’ the instructors didn’t like interruptions during a session. That said, I stood in line with my yoga mat in hand, flip-flops in the other and felt a bit skeptical. I stood there and worried I may throw up during class.
While I stood there I glanced at red, sweaty faces of people who just finished a session. One by one they walked out of the studio doors, grabbing their belongings out of their cubby. And one by one, the people standing in line in front of me rushed in. I assumed the rush was to get a good spot on the studio floors. When I got into the large room, I looked around, and found a spot directly in the back corner (there was no way I was going to the front of the class). This is where I rolled out my mat, looked around the room, and watched others place their towels and water to the side. Like a toddler copying an adult, I did the same. I watched some of the participants grab a head block and a spray bottle, and I followed their lead into the supply room. Fortunately, the heat felt bearable which began to erase the bad experience from my past Bikram session.
The instructor, sweaty from teaching the last class, came into the room, and with a calm and pleasant tone, asked us to turn off our phones, and lay flat on our backs, putting our hands up to receive energy, or down to feel grounded. As I lay on my back I chose to leave my palms up to receive energy, closed my eyes, and began to follow the breathing instructions being given.
Within a few minutes, I began to feel calm and relaxed. The music was inviting, and made me feel at ease. We breathed in and out a few more times. Each breath felt like a release of something I was holding inside that I needed to let go of. For example, the anxiety about not knowing what to expect, what I was going to make for dinner when I got back, and if I was going to find time to shower before taking my daughter to her basketball practice began to dissipate. Suddenly, none of it mattered. In that moment, all of it began to diminish. I became fully present. Suddenly I only felt my heart beating as I lay on the mat, the music, and the instructors pleasant tone.
Once the yoga flow sequence began, it was faster than I had anticipated. Although I wasn’t as flexible as the girls up at the front of the class, I tried everything to the best of my ability. I told myself not to worry about anyone else in the class, and to continue at a comfortable pace. Sweat began to drip down my face, and each time I posed into downward dog I could feel the sting of sweat slowly burn my eyes. I reached for my hand towel, wiped my eyes, and continued the pose.
After a half an hour of yoga flow, we took some sips of water. The music changed to upbeat, and suddenly the class went from zen to an ass-kicking cardio, butt blasting workout! We went from happy baby pose to crunches with weights. The energy in the room was intense, and the sweat began to seep through my skin at a faster rate than I’ve ever felt from any work out…ever.
In fact, I was so sweaty, I wiped my face with my hand towel many times, and then I gave up. I just let the sweat drip down my face, because it was inevitably going to continue until the session was done. The instructor was helpful, motivating everyone to stick with it. She was toned, with a ripped six-pack, wearing only a sports bra, and shorts. Her abs looked like something from the cover of a fitness magazine, and her energy was just the energy the entire class needed to get us through without feeling like giving up, and dying.
At the end of the class, the music changed back to peaceful and calming. We lay on our backs in shavasana. I could hear the heavy breathing of each person in the room, and then we took a few deep, loud breaths. With my eyes closed, I could suddenly feel tears, (not tears of sweat from getting my ass kicked in that infrared studio) but real tears. Salty tears began to stream down my face, and I couldn’t control them. My heart was pounding through my chest and I silently bawled. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t scared nor was I upset. It was a release; the emotional release I needed. Right there on that mat, was exactly where I was meant to be, and that release was exactly what I needed… for me. The instructor told us to put our hands at heart-centre and ended the class with us repeating the mantra, “I will compliment myself daily”. It was the perfect way to end the class.
Styling the inside of my life often times gets put on the back burner. That first class at Oxygen Yoga reminded me how integral self-care is. It’s the highest form of self-love, and when we make space and time in our life for this type of care, it feels amazing (on the inside).
Since that first class, I’ve taken classes at the Port Coquitlam, and the new Maple Ridge location. I can honestly say every class I’ve tried at each studio, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I am now more flexible, and when I can’t make a class, it makes me sad. I’m fully addicted to the detoxifying, mental clarity I feel after working out at Oxygen Yoga. It’s especially nice working out in the infrared studio now that the weather is getting colder.
For more information about Oxygen Yoga and Fitness infrared classes have a peek at their website. I’m so happy to announce that one lucky reader will have the opportunity to win a free months pass!!! I hope you love it as much as I do!
*One lucky reader will have the opportunity to enjoy a full month at One of three Oxygen locations including Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, and Maple Ridge. The winner however, can not use the months pass at all three locations. This contest is for British Columbia residents only.
Best of luck friends!
Disclaimer: I was given unlimited fitness classes at all three locations as compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.