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Day Two, Lizzie’s Yoga Challenge 2014: Power Vinyasa with Celest

I have to admit, when I woke up this morning I could not imagine going to a yoga class. The scar from my liver transplant is a reverse L shape on my torso that is only partially healed, with several more months ahead before it will close properly. I’ve been having strange pains in my torso as I resume the yoga practice; it feels like someone has sewn my two halves of the body together and the seam is too tight. In the morning it can be pretty intense. Anyway, I was as surprised as Celest was when I walked into her class a few minutes past two. As we started the sun salutations, there were quite a few variations offered including jumping into handstand, three-legged plank to three-legged chatturanga to knee to elbow in preparation for koundinyasana. The class progressed, and Celest demonstrated ways to progress into a variety of challenging postures including padottanasana to pinchamayurasana, parvritta surya yantrasana (compass pose) to astavakrasana, and more.

Celest has a down to earth approach to teaching that provides students with personal insights about how she has overcome physical obstacles to the postures, and she radiates a love and enthusiasm for the practice. Asana practice is the gymnastic aspect of yoga, and for all intents and purposes this is one of the most gymnastic classes that I have been to for quite some time. Even so, there were enough variations offered throughout the class that even someone like me with the goal of ‘taking it easy’ could follow along and feel connected to the energy of the group. The aspects of the class that I most valued was the time Celest gave to demonstrating and talking through the process of building into several more challenging postures, and the time allotted for students to try the postures several times. This was not a class laden with insights or wisdom about the state of being human or finding inner peace, but if you are looking for a fun and challenging physical practice, I would highly suggest giving this class a try. Celest is a true beauty inside and out.

A note about the studios: Every yoga studio is a little different physically and energetically, and at Indaba, it feels like there is a party going on pretty much all the time. The teachers, employees and students alike are lovers of life and there is a real sense of community that permeates throughout the centre. I truly feel blessed to have the opportunity to both practice and teach at Indaba.

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