Yesterday I finally got out of my yoga rut & went to class for the 1st time in a month! I usually practice yoga 1x/week, but my schedule got out of wack with travel and school so it felt wonderful to go to class again. My preference is to practice what's called Bikram yoga. It's a series of 26 poses done in a heated room. It takes 90 minutes and you get a little bit of everything- breathing exercises, standing balance poses, back bends, forward bends, lunges, you name it! What I love about yoga is the concept of balance and steadiness within each pose. For example, in a warrior pose you are in a lunge with arms stretched out. When I'm in a lunge during a strength workout I often solely focus on my bent leg (spec knee, quad, & foot). In a warrior pose there is focus on balance. The bent leg is holding most of your weight but the challenge is to be mindful of planting the foot of your straight leg. The steadiness in poses deals with relaxing and breathing despite being in a difficult pose. I think that is so applicable to life- it's much more enjoyable if you can relax and breathe even in challenging situations. I started practicing yoga solely for injury prevention, but have really come to appreciate the spiritual practice as well as the physical.
My favorite studio in Madison is Perfect Knot Yoga on the near east side off of Willy street. It's a small studio, very laid back, and the teachers are amazing. The back wall has this really pretty mural with a bunch of hanging plants. I don't know why but I'm kind of obsessed with setting up my mat by the mural and plants- I suppose it might help instill calm. If you've never practiced yoga, I would highly recommend it- it just might take some time to find the right type of class and studio for you.