I was just writing my Bala Yoga Yelp review and decided to write a blog post where I can focus more on my thoughts and experiences instead of the studio.
Yoga beginnings: I took my first yoga class at Community Fitness back in 2007 or so. Enjoyed the class and loved the teacher, but I was a college student and probably talked myself out of taking more classes because of the cost or the time required or something. I don’t really remember anymore. In 2009 I found a Groupon deal for an intro class at a different studio (it’s no longer open), so I tried that. It was fine but “life happened” and I didn’t end up making it to the last class in the series (of four?). In 2013 I purchased a class pass for Sutra Yoga because they had a great deal and I lived within walking distance at the time. I enjoyed most of the classes, but let my schedule get in the way again and then moved out of the neighborhood/city.
Late July 2013: I decided to take my first ever Pilates mat class at Kinesia Pilates in Pioneer Square. I loved the first class and ended up deciding to get an unlimited monthly pass. I was determined to stick with it and started attending 2-3 classes per week. By October, I felt pretty great and was down 20-25 pounds. So exciting! In January I got ready to move out of Seattle proper and Pioneer Square got much less convenient, so I stopped taking classes.
March-October 2014: Got a 30-day trial pass and then a 6-month unlimited yoga pass (cheaper per month than the no-contract plan) at Bala Yoga in Kirkland. At first I tried to take yoga classes 4-5 times a week and got pretty frustrated when I would be so tired by the last day that I’d have to spend much of the class in child’s pose. Some days I didn’t make it to the studio because I couldn’t get myself up at 5:30am and then didn’t return home from work/events until after 8pm. The classes were usually pretty emotional for me… plenty moments of: anger, happiness, and calm. It always felt great to reach the end (shavasana!), though, and I usually left the studio feeling happy and satisfied. Quickly learned that sweat wasn’t really great evidence of a great work-out, though: it was a heated room and you could get very sweaty just sitting on your mat. When I got close to the end of my Bala contract, I realized that I really liked the (great) studio, but it wasn’t really lining up with my goals. Evidence: 6 months into yoga, I was 5-10 pounds heavier than when I stopped taking Pilates classes. :(
April 2014: I attended a barre3 Kirkland Yelp event and my legs were super sore for days. May need to do that again!
Spring 2014: Got a deal on a class pass and took a few truBarre classes at The Union Method. I enjoyed how difficult the classes were and the small class size. Didn’t end up continuing because I was already a Bala member and this place was more expensive (because the classes are much smaller?).
Spring 2014: Checked out Embody Health‘s “boot camp” classes. I don’t recommend doing this when you have an unlimited pass anywhere else! ;) I love that they cover nutrition and take before/after photos and measurements. It’s also nice that each session is only 30 minutes because it’s easier to fit them into a busy day. Yoga felt very “healing” after challenging and fast-paced boot camp classes. I was not a fan of lunges and burpees… but mostly I didn’t like that they aren’t up-front about class prices beyond the trial period. When I asked about cost in the beginning, they said it’s a personalized plan and depends on an individual’s needs/goals. When they gave me the cost sheet, I learned that they only really had two options – unlimited month-to-month or a cheaper unlimited pre-paid plan (for 6 months or a year?). They were nice people and it looks like their method works, but I didn’t feel the right fit/connection here like I did with some other businesses/people/methods.
Spring 2014: Downloaded and tested several different free fitness (specifically: step counter) apps on my iPhone 5S. Eventually settled on the Fitbit app and deleted the others. In January (2015) I received the Fitbit Flex in the Popsugar Must Have + Target Special Edition Box (will write a review at some point!), so I started using it instead of the M7 motion-chip that’s in my phone. Side note: Everyone seems to think I’m crazy/odd/confused when I talk about my phone tracking my steps! Anyway… I don’t think I would have made the switch on my own because my phone was doing enough to not make a tracker worth $100+ to me, but it was a great surprise in the (much cheaper) box. I haven’t seen an obvious weight/health difference because of my walking, but I’m happy to know more about my activity and I’m guessing it’s been really good for me to aim for 10,000 steps most days. Best day so far: a little over 26,000 steps! (Another note on that: I work remotely and on my laptop, so I don’t have a commute and my job doesn’t really involve any walking around.)
September 2014: Decided to join Columbia Athletic Club because they’re close to home and have: a swimming pool, group fitness classes (yoga, pilates, zumba, cardio, cycling, and more!), weight training equipment, cardio equipment, a couple hot tubs, a steam room, and a sauna. Plus, they’re open 5am-10:30pm on weekdays, 6am-8pm on weekends. I haven’t quite figured out what I need to get the results I want, but I’m working on it. I’m definitely enjoying having all kinds of options and am pretty sure the steam room helps keep me sane and happy some days. ;)
So that’s basically where I am right now. Didn’t really cover nutrition because I haven’t quite figured out how to speak about that topic yet, but that’s another thing I’m thinking about and frequently discussing with my favorite Chemical Engineer. I recently realized that I don’t drink enough water, so I’ve been aiming for about 100oz a day. I haven’t had the best track record so far (Fitbit app estimates), but I’m drinking much more water than I used to drink.
Parting thoughts: I love being part of a community. I am part of several great communities right now (like the Seattle Yelp community!), but I haven’t quite figured out how to be part of the (local and national) fitness community. Maybe it’s because I don’t yet look like someone who’s really focusing on fitness? Maybe it’s my personality (INFP) and perspective? I don’t know. Bala Yoga members (without saying anything) inspired me to pick up some better fitness clothes (good-bye, old baggy sweatpants and random loose shirts!), so maybe that’ll help. Maybe trying to talk/write/post about it more will also help. Just being someone who is a member and shows up to classes isn’t enough. I really want and need something to “click” already.
Okay. Time for me to get some sleep. Busy week ahead!