Saturday, 5 December 2015

Kindred Movement Yoga

A few months ago a new yoga studio opened up in Abbotsford called Kindred Movement. It is conveniently located about a five minute walk from my house, just off Gipps Street and across from one of our favourite brunch spots, Kitchen. Previous to Kindred Movement opening there was a lack of yoga studios within walking distance of our house - we must live in the only place in Melbourne where that is true. There are classes at Abbotsford Convent, but the timetable is really limited or you have to commit to eight week courses. One of my mother's group friends, Trudie, told me about Kindred Movement opening when we got back from London in October, and that night I excitedly went to my first Yin Yoga class with her. 

I was initially underwhelmed with the studio, but probably for all the wrong reasons. I was used to Kaya Health Studios, where I used to go before we moved to Abbotsford. Kaya is a much larger club, with various group fitness rooms, a small gym and a full shower and changing room. I loved Kaya and would have continued my membership there if we hadn't moved. Kindred Movement is a much simpler space, just one room to do yoga and Pilates with a class maximum of 16 students.

I started by doing their intro offer of $25 for 10 days and managed to fit in three classes. Upon finishing the 10 days there is a follow-up offer of one month unlimited for $90. I signed up for this as well, and ended up going consistently three times a week. I've since completely fallen in love with the studio! It is just such a welcoming space and as soon as I arrive I feel completely relaxed, even (or especially) after a particularly challenging day with Ella. Because it is so new and small it feels like a community you belong to instead of just a huge club where you don't know anyone and no one knows you. I've decided to become a member, which is $30 per week for unlimited classes. My aim is three classes a week, but even if I only do two I figure $15 per yoga class is still cheaper than a drop-in session anywhere (they tend to be about $20 per class).

Kindred Movement Yoga Studio, Abbotsford

There are three styles of Yoga offered: Power Flow, Slow Flow and Yin. The flow classes are both Vinyasa style and pretty similar, except that the flows tend to be faster paced in the power class, and the room temperature is much warmer at around 27-30 degrees. Yin is the total opposite, where poses are held passively for 3-5 minutes, giving a really deep stretch. This class is challenging in a different way to the flow classes, as you have to be really mindful and try not to let your mind wander while you are holding the poses, so there is a truly meditative aspect to the class. It can also be pretty excruciating to hold a pose for that long, and sometimes getting out of them I feel like a creaky old woman! Yin is a really good complement to the flow classes (which are a Yang style) and can really help to increase flexibility. I have been going to one of each class every week for the past two months and am really starting to see the difference. I feel stronger and more flexible than when I started, and the back pain I had due to breastfeeding is almost non-existent. Kindred Movement also offer Pilates which I haven't tried out yet, but my friend Trudie has and said its very challenging! The timetable is pretty limited at the moment, but they are very new and so will be adding classes as demand increases. A lot of the classes are still pretty small, which is so great as you get a lot of individual attention from the teachers and they are able to correct your posture in poses which I desperately need!

All of the teachers I have had are excellent, very unique in their styles, and they always give me something to think about each class, an intention or a theme to focus on. The owner, Mandy, teaches the Yin class I go to on a Tuesday night, and she always has a delicious pot of lemongrass and ginger tea for us brewing before class. Last week Mandy started the class by reminding us that our lives are a series of moments, and all you really have to do is attend to the moment that you are in. I've thought about that a lot this week, as it is so easy to worry about "what might happen" in the future, or "what has happened" in the past, instead of just focusing on what is happening now. Since her class I've been trying to bring myself back to the present by telling myself to "attend to the moment", whether it is while I am walking somewhere, or trying to get Ella to sleep, or talking to Andy or a friend. It's so easy to just let my mind wander to where I am going, or what I am going to get done when Ella falls asleep, or how I am going to respond to whoever I am talking to... I'm so busy thinking about what happens next that I forget to enjoy what is happening now. When you focus on the now everything becomes much simpler and easier to deal with, and I think it has really helped me to be more calm, especially when dealing with a fussy baby!

Since having Ella "me time" has become much more scarce, and so I really appreciate the hour I have to myself when I am at yoga. I feel a lot more committed to my practice than I did pre-baby, and I now even do about 20-30 minutes of yoga at home on my own each morning. It is basically a priority for me during Ella's first morning nap. As soon as she is asleep I roll out my mat and put on a video via YouTube. I have told myself I am not allowed to do ANYTHING prior to yoga... No checking my phone, Facebook, replying to text messages, etc. (OK, I do allow myself to go to the bathroom, but I think that's a valid exception!) I've found two yoga channels that I really like: Bad Yogi, and Yoga with Adriene. Both have 30 Day Challenges which give you a different class every day for 30 days, so its not like you are watching the same video over and over again, which would get pretty boring! I've already completed the Bad Yogi challenge and am on Day 7 of the one on Yoga with Adrien. 

On Friday we leave to go to Canada for Christmas which I am so, SO excited about, and I am determined to keep up my daily yoga practice while we are there. I will really miss practicing at Kindred Movement and have to put my membership on hold for the next six weeks as we will be travelling for most of that time. But it does give me something to look forward to at the end of the summer, and I am eager to see what additions to the timetable there will be in the new year.

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