Saturday, June 15, 2013

Re-discovering yoga: The Downtown Fitness Club

I first set foot in Tom Somerville's yoga class at my beloved Downtown Fitness Club an hour and a half after I finished the Flower City Duathlon.

My muscles were screaming at me, and I had a half marathon the next morning. I'm going to try it, I said, laying my mat down by the door for easy escape when I inevitably got bored 20 minutes in.

Tom shared his story with me when I was doing short Facebook bios of DFC instructors. Fifteen years ago his spine started dissolving due to a rare disease. He was told he'd never walk again.

This is the part that resonated with me -- he could only afford so much physical therapy, so started practicing yoga and slowly rehabilitated himself through the process. He saw himself teaching, and eventually went for it.

I train in fear of getting injured. The fear isn't just of the injury itself, but of the cost. My insurance has a ridiculously high copay for specialists. As I've started to have aches and pains as a result of increased training, I've realized -- I need to take more precautions.

Tom and I had emailed and chatted on Facebook but I had never met the man in person. He has a way about him though, that first time I went he recognized me immediately and made me feel welcome in his class.

I'm not very good at yoga. When I first joined the Licking County Family YMCA in 2010, I did it regularly but eventually abandoned it. Never had the patience to continue. I told myself I'd stretch on my own, but that slowly went away too.

As an instructor myself, I appreciate how hard it is to teach a big class, there are so many different levels to cater to. But Tom did it seamlessly my first class. I, the person who didn't currently have the flexibility to touch her toes, worked through the various modifications next to the more flexible types. My alignment is bad. Tom works slowly enough where I remember to keep myself straight.

After Flower City, I forgot about Tom's class for awhile, but have since recommitted myself to going back. The thought of sitting and stretching for an hour still pains me, but Tom makes it go quick.

After taking a yoga class elsewhere recently, I have much more appreciation for Tom. There, the instructor focused on crazy balance poses and headstands, so I felt out of place. While you see a few people at the Downtown Fitness Club go into some pretty crazy, painful looking poses, you don't feel out of place being the one sticking to the basics.

I'll be dragging my tired, sore butt to his class tomorrow before the Quakerman triathlon.

For once, I'm actually looking forward to going to a yoga class.

I'll admit I had a hing of hesitation to writing this. While the room in the back corner of the basement club is filling up, I now dread the day when it gets so crowded that people get turned away!

The Downtown Fitness Club is a wonderful place. I've belonged there since September, and taught there since April. You feel welcome there, but you also don't feel pressured. There's always a treadmill, a bike, or a lane in the pool for you. You feel like a member, not a customer. The staff wants you to succeed, they don't want to squeeze more money out of you. There are no confusing contracts or no high pressure sales. It costs what it costs (which isn't much).


1 comment:

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