You might think that a person so vested in her yoga practice wouldn’t think twice about attending the newest exercise trend in her hometown. And at first I think I did mutter a little “hmpff” to myself when some of my yoga clients first began talking about their TRX experiences. But I kept my smug thoughts to myself for a while, thinking that the newest exercise trend would play itself out, whereas my century old way of life yoga would, of course, be patiently waiting for them when they grew tired of those silly suspension straps.
Sometimes a teacher needs to learn too. I listened to them discuss their happy and sore muscles that were reawakened by Benji, the TRX trainer. They would groan in chair pose stating that their legs were tired from their latest TRX session. I would consider extra-long poses to release some of their muscles that he targeted to strengthen. Then finally, I decided with our crossover in clients, that I really needed to experience it for myself.
I got to Tuesday’s class and took some mental notes. TRX is a suspension strap that essentially leverages your own body weight to work out. As a yogi who only relies on a good mat and her breath, I could see why this may be a bit intimidating to a newbie. I half expected military-dressed body builders to walk through the door and was pleasantly surprised when a group of my friends walked in.
We began with some lunges to warm up and it wasn’t long before I began to feel my heart rate quicken. I began to incorporate some of my yogic breathing principles and was delighted when our trainer referenced the importance of alignment time and time again. Many of the cues I use in a yoga class were taught to me as I paid careful attention to using my core strength and mountain posture to work through some very challenging movements. At one point, in a suspended plank with my arms in fly-out position, I was quite certain that every molecule in my body was firing. It was hard! But yet it felt very exhilarating.
All seven of the women groaned and giggled throughout his class. The feeling of community in the TRX room was strong and I enjoyed the way he would push us to work harder, realizing that he needed to move quickly throughout the room to motivate all of us to stay on task. I had to resist taking a breather every time he turned his back. At one point, my friend Ann rested her whole body on the floor and mentioned that she was in her favorite position. We all laughed.
The hour flew by. So did my skepticism. Initially I had assumed that without the teaching of basic yogic principles the meaningfulness of this exercise would be lost on me. I had been a bit stuck in my yoga elitist views that mine was the only worthy practice and had forgotten how fun it can be to experience a different kind of a challenge. Most of all, by the end of the hour I realized that this class was a very nice complement to what I taught and that by changing up the way we use our body, we provide it with a whole new level of physical strength and ability.
Yoga will always be my priority. But perhaps with a mindful acceptance to change (and a tad bit of humility), while understanding that yoga is a beautiful complement to all activities, mixing up my own personal practice could give this teacher a little extra insight of her own.