Woodbridge offers a sport I am really passionate about. I can’t get enough of it, and practice it daily. I am always trying to improve my game and set new personal goals. I read the latest articles about it. I immerse myself in it. If I let more than two days go without practicing it… let’s just say the office ladies don’t like me too much.
Sound familiar? Not so fast.
Yoga is to me what Golf is to most of you.
Calling yoga a sport is probably not an accurate description of the ancient practice, but it is a form of exercise. Yoga, in its simplest definition, means a union, specifically between the body and the mind. Most people who have never tried yoga before believe it to be a series of stretching and breathing. But most people who have tried yoga at least once know it’s far more than that.
I’ve always loved the flexibility and strength I continue to grow from yoga. But for me, yoga also offers me a daily reprieve from a busy work schedule, social life, demanding bulldog and three (yes three) teenagers (yes, teenagers). I would say yoga also gives me a boost in confidence that stretches beyond the mat – if I can get into a pose I thought was impossible, how many other things am I thinking aren’t possible, but are?
Given enough time and regular practice, yoga will increase flexibility, strengthen and tone muscles and improve balance. Below the surface, yoga will also improve your resting heart rate, help lower your blood pressure, increase your focus, improve your sleep and reduce stress levels. Now, I don’t play golf, but my assumption is improvements in any of the above will also improve your golf game.
I’m not alone in my love for yoga. As a matter of fact, there are more people practicing yoga in the United States today than golf or tennis. Consider this:
- Golf — According to the National Golf Federation, about 25 million Americans played golf in 2014. This is down from 26 million in 2010.
- Tennis — According to the Tennis Industry Association, about 17.9 million Americans played tennis in 2014. This is up about 1 percent from 2013.
- Yoga — According to a study released in 2016 by the Yoga Journal and the Yoga Alliance, there were 36 million Americans practicing yoga in 2015. This is up 50 percent from 2012’s 20 million estimate.
The numbers are interesting and have a great way of showing current society’s trends and preferences, while offering businesses like ours a reality check as to the importance of offering new modalities that appear to be in high demand. At Woodbridge, we offer four weekly yoga classes in the Tennis Building: Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6pm; Wednesday mornings at 9:30am; and Saturday mornings at 9am. These classes are free to all Woodbridge members, with the exception of Dining members. Guests are welcome at $6 per person, per class (and if you’ve priced yoga classes in Lodi – or really in all of California – this is an amazing deal. Most yoga classes command a class rate starting at $10 to $15 per student.).
Teaching our classes is one of our own members – Megan Hein — who is a local yoga instructor and helped get our classes started more than a year ago. She also teaches our water aerobics classes during the swim months. I had the pleasure of taking one of her classes on a Saturday morning. Megan formats her class so that all fitness levels are able to be successful. Beginning yogis (by the way, if you practice yoga, you are considered a yogi – the term is for instructors and students) are offered props, alternatives and added instruction to find a variation of a pose, while intermediates are able to take her instruction and move into poses at their own flexibility.
On the day I took her class, Megan led us through Sun Salutations and many of my favorite poses, including frog, pigeon, king pigeon, tree and triangle. I really enjoyed her class and the style of teaching she brings to her students. As a former fitness instructor, I also liked seeing her take the time to help fellow yogis on a one-on-one basis during the class.
And I cannot stress this enough – yoga is for all ages and stages. I’ve seen children enjoy yoga and I’ve seen 90-year-olds enjoy yoga. I’ve seen athletes enjoy yoga, and I’ve seen wheelchair-bound individuals enjoy yoga.
Woodbridge has a small selection of props and mats for members and their guests who do not have their own. There’s no advance sign up necessary. Class attendees should wear comfortable clothing they can move in. Most yogis do not wear shoes during practice, so no special shoes are required.
By the time you read this article, I may have completed my first “Yoga Triathlon” in Sacramento – a combination of a 5k run, 2 hours of yoga and 30 minutes of meditation. I hope you consider giving our classes a try, and I hope you find some of the enjoyment I do in them. Namaste!