They Say You Shouldn't Meet Your Heroes...
People who know me well (hi Mum) know that I love, love, LOVE yoga. And no, actually, not just because pretty much every class ends with a good chunk of lying on the floor.
Still, as a full-time teacher and when-I-have-time freelance writer, I'm not overwhelmed with free time in which to practice. That is, until I found Bad Yogi.
Bad Yogi is the brainchild of the lovely Erin Motz, whose approach to yoga is the laid back, who cares if you can't touch your toes as long as you're still smiling, variety. (No, I'm not paid to sponsor Erin, but I might as well be the amount of times I go on about her).
Originally from Florida and now based in the South of France, I found Bad Yogi online and subscribe to classes that wing their way over to my laptop. So when I heard that Erin Motz was coming to the UK, I just had to jump on that bandwagon. (Minor hitch being that the part of the UK she was coming to was Wigan, but I solved that one pretty quickly with an eye-wateringly pricey train ticket).
The idea of a yoga workshop full of devotees would normally get my legs shaking more than during pyramid pose, but I knew I'd be on safe ground with the Bad Yogi crew. Here are my takeaways from attending my first ever yoga special event.
1. You can't beat the real thing.
I'm an online yoga class addict for convenience, but you know what? Nothing beats the feeling of walking away from a real live yoga studio with actual fellow yogis inside. The om hits you much harder if you've had to leave your bedroom (and pyjamas) to get the experience. The little tips and tweaks you get from an instructor in the room with you are worth having at least from time to time.
2. I missed my mat. Big time.
Normally, I turn my nose up at expensive yoga gear. Leggings that cost £69.99? Did no one tell you New Look does them for £8? My mat is the one thing that I've truly splashed out on in the yogasphere (especially as I got it posted to Southern Italy where I was based at the time), and it's the one constant I always have in my practice.
Getting set up for the workshop of the year, I felt a pathetic tinge of regret that my mat wasn't part of the experience. I missed the added grip it gives me, its unnecessary thickness, even the faint smell of rubber I inevitably waft round with me for the rest of the day. Next time I head to a workshop, I'll make the effort to drag it round with me.
Looking for a mat true love to rival mine? Check out this Best Yoga Mat review to make sure you're in the know.
3. The right place won't feel intimidating.
It's always been my dream to take a luxurious trip to a yoga retreat, and a day-long workshop feels like the first toe-dip in those waters. In the past, I've always been put off by the thought that everyone there would be more experienced than me, or that I'd be the only person turning up on my lonesome.
Not so. The class was a great mix of men and women, young and old, friends and solo visitors. I felt totally in place, which was made all the more easier with the right class and the right crowd. If you've been enjoying someone's classes online, chances are other people like you have too!
4. Always meet your heroes.
I've been such a fan of Erin for such a long time that I was genuinely worried the class would be a massive let down. When you have unlimited takes to rehearse an online class, could the real thing ever live up? In reality, the opposite happened. Erin was as easy going, friendly and natural as her videos suggest, and real-life Erin was even more funny than the pre-recorded version. I felt like I'd been attending her classes for years, which I guess, in a way, I sorta had.
Okay, I'm a coward, and I didn't go and say hi at the end for fear that I'd have nothing to say and look like a total goon, but I smiled and nodded appreciatively (not a weird amount) during the class itself, so I'm pretty sure I'm covered on the politeness front.
The moral of the story? Being yes girl and jumping at things that feel 'you' is always a good move (even when it involves a train to Wigan). Meeting my yoga hero made me even keener to keep up my yoga practise, and left me feeling like I'd topped up my wellbeing for another week. They say you shouldn't meet your heroes, but you could be seriously missing out if you don't.