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Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 32: Bikram Yoga Challenge - Texas Champion, Susan Anderson, Taught Class!

From 2010 USA/InternationalYogaCompetition (by Eye-Fi)
Susan Anderson at USA Yoga Championships in Los Angeles

I am in Austin, Texas visiting my sister-in-law and participating in a "green" networking event with Texas Green Network, all the while, still trying to get my yoga in everyday. There are three Bikram Yoga studios in Austin; Yoga Groove in North Austin recently expanded and I haven't been to the studio since the remodel so I decided go go there and check it out. I'm so glad I did too, Susan Anderson, the 2009 Texas Yoga Asana Championship winner was teaching!

First, the studio, it was amazing! The lobby area was spacious, great for hanging around after yoga and chatting it up with fellow yogis. The retail area was a large wall area with lots of selection, I almost bought something! (But I refrained.) There were also several massage rooms right past the sign in desk. At the end of the hall were two dressing rooms, one with a picture of Bikram and one with a picture of Rajashree, I went into the one with Rajashree. Very nice dressing area with two showers and a good amount of cubbies for our belongings.

The yoga room was down the hall. Directly opposite the yoga room entrance door was a water dispenser, with ICE, and a wonderful wall were people had written note cards as to why they practice. It was fun reading the different reasons people practice Bikram Yoga, some do it for health reasons, some do it for a HOT body and others just do it for a more peaceful mind.

After I had fully admired the new digs I went into the yoga room and set my mat on the second line. Within a few seconds I felt hungry, possibly a little weak and rethought my decision to be on the second row. See, being hungry before the class starts just means when class starts, the word "starving" will start to creep into my mind, my stomach will start to hurt, it is likely a little growling will happen and I am sure to start to wither and fall out of poses, best to do that on the 3rd row where hopefully less people will see. I moved my mat to the 3rd row and laid down in Savasana.

I must had dosed off; I hear the instructor and I open one eye, wait for it to get acclimated to the light and open the second one. I heave myself up and turn around and realize my class is being taught by Susan Anderson, the women's first place winner of the 2009 Texas Yoga Asana Championships. Cool!

Susan didn't wear a head set which instantly made it feel like a more intimate class and her voice was soft and soothing, adding a more zen feeling to class. It reminded me of how people describe yoga; instructors with soothing voices that talk slowing and methodically giving instruction as if it were a Sunday afternoon. It wasn't exactly "Bikram-esque" but it was oddly motivating and encouraging, perhaps as encouraging as the strong commands of the Bikram dialog and microphoned voices coming out of overhead speakers. Clearly the other students in the room liked it, they were all intently paying attention to Susan's instructions and added correction techniques. Susan did spend a lot of time giving additional instruction and tips on how to hold the hand or how to bend or when to move to the next step. As I listened I pondered in my mind if this was better or worse to just having the dialog spoken in class with less general corrections and demonstrations from the instructor.

But then, as we closed in on the last few postures, I decided the extra instruction WAS helpful. Susan gave what I would call a fairly in depth breakdown of Half Tortoise with when and how to place the hands on the floor. Lots of people must have been having trouble with it because after she gave that demonstration, we did the second set and there seemed to be a resounded acknowledgment that her tips and corrects had improved the students postures.

I love taking class from different teachers, even though there is a set dialog (how to say the postures) and everyone is suppose to say it the same way, there always seems to be a personal flair that comes out through the instruction. The class was just right for a lazy day in Austin where the temperature was 74 and sunny. After class I put the top down on the car and zipped around town feeling happy and content. Yoga is a good thing.

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