Day 16: Focused Flow Yoga
Background: AquaVie offers members an urban oasis of serenity. Signature details include a silver and glass stairway, custom contemporary furnishings, luxe hues of arctic blue and a stunning three-story water wall. Each of the four levels of AquaVie is thoughtfully designed to represent a unique environment and to elevate the wellness of your mind, body and spirit. Learn more about the gym here!
We had a great experience on Day 15 with the One Love Movement and some sunset yoga. I’m a big sunset yoga guy. But I wanted to bring Day 16 back to the grind. It’s time to check out crossfit once and for all. We’re over two weeks in to our 100 Days challenge and I’m feeling good/cocky (what else is new?)
Well, lo and behold Dylan books a crossfit class up in PB, but guess who shoots it down? That’s right, Sam. It was time for me to hold my ground.
“We’re doing crossfit, and there’s nothing you can say about it.” -Me
“Fine, Dylan. Why don’t you check out what you booked.” -Sam
These workouts combine gymnastics, weightlifting, and metabolic conditioning in varying degrees and durations to create unparalleled results. From the basic (but all-important) air squat all the way to the very technical muscle up and Olympic lifts.
Hmm. Maybe just one more yoga class.
We signed up for the 12:00 PM Focused Flow class with Elyssa at AquaVie Fitness. If you’ve never been to AquaVie, it’s similar to a Fit Athletic Club or Equinox, but has a great San Diego feel to it. I walked into the class ready to get a light stretch and maybe break a small sweat; I think I have a short term memory disorder because every yoga class we’ve taken is difficult, yet I continue to assume otherwise.
Yoga is hard. Don’t @ me.
The first 15 minutes of class consisted of practicing each pose individually to acclimate our bodies and breathing to the motions. The longer held the pose, the longer your breathing should take. Elyssa explained to the class that your breath is what moves you through the motions — not your body. With this in mind, we began combining our poses and flowing through them. After holding warrior 1,2, and 3, transitioning into the star, chair, and downward dog poses, it was safe to say I was drenched in sweat.
It used to be you weren’t allowed to practice yoga until you mastered controlling your breathing. Focusing on your breathing allows you to hold more strenuous positions longer. It takes your mind away from your shaking legs or arms during practice, teaching your mind to deal with stress. If you’ve never tried forcing yourself to breathe out of your nose while working out, you’re really stressed, or are just trying to focus, trust me you’ve gotta give it a go. It’s not just me telling you, it’s science:
Many of us feel stressed out, overworked, and overstimulated during our daily lives, which leaves us in a chronic state of fight or flight response. Breathing in and out through the nose helps us take fuller, deeper breaths, which stimulates the lower lung to distribute greater amounts of oxygen throughout the body. Also, the lower lung is rich with the parasympathetic nerve receptors associated with calming the body and mind, whereas the upper lungs — which are stimulated by chest and mouth breathing — prompt us to hyperventilate and trigger sympathetic nerve receptors, which result in the fight or flight reaction.
Time and time again I think I’m bad at yoga, but I remember it’s impossible to be. Yoga isn’t just limited to the poses on the mat (Note: my favorite is corpse pose): it’s more about life off of it. We’ve learned so much about the San Diego fitness community, the different types of exercises and techniques, but one thing I didn’t expect was the amount of self-reflection that would occur during our journey. The types of people we’ve met throughout our time building Vizer, pursuing our 100 Days Challenge, or just talking with people in the health and wellness community have left us walking away with something new to think about.
Ultimately it all comes back to the same topic: health. Health isn’t limited to physical. There’s mental and spiritual (still working on the last one, currently researching).
Elyssa’s class was no different. As is customary at almost every boutique class, we were encouraged to reflect on our why (see Day 14 for reference). But what isn’t customary is the conclusion you reach. All 16 classes have pushed us to question our why. And all 16 times I’ve come to a different realization. I can only imagine where I’ll be at come Day 50.
Elyssa taught the class with structure, poise, and grace. I felt confident in my ability as the class went on because of it, and I even practiced a little when we got back to HQ. Be sure to check out our interview with her below!
Meet the Instructor
Elyssa Swann: @lionandswan
How did you first start teaching Yoga?
ES: I’ve been practicing yoga for over 20 years, and when I was in high school I saw a yoga routine in a magazine and I started doing it before school. I’m also a personal trainer so I’ve been in the fitness industry for a while now. I only taught yoga for myself, but I wanted to offer my clients something other than weights. I even teach more yoga than I do training now!
Can you tell us more about AquaVie?
ES: It actually is a gym owned by the Westgate hotel, and it was empty for a long time so they decided to buy it and transform the building into an upscale gym. It’s still relatively brand new (about a year and a half old), but yoga is the most attended class on our class schedule. *high five’d us* It’s four stories, rooftop pool, have a lot of rooftop parties, and they also have a killer brunch on the weekend. There’s a large focus on building a community here.
How’d you start personal training?
ES: Well I used to work at a juice bar when I was in high school and got really into nutrition. I started to discover a natural way of health for myself, and I realized people were asking me and I was giving them tips on what to do. One day someone came into the cafe and asked if I wanted to be a personal trainer and that there was a gym hiring. I went in and immediately fell in love, and I’ve been training ever since.
Share your experience with the hashtag #100VizerDays or meet us at the studio to join in on the fun! Follow along on Instagram and Facebook. Check out our next blog covering opening day at Edge Cycle!