Harmony Yoga Retreat | Yelapa, Mexico

This was my first time out of the country and my first yoga retreat, so it was an amazing adventure, to say the least.

Yoga Journal Conference Midwest

Dharma Mittra, Seane Corn, Aadil Pakhilivala, Maty Ezraty, Jim Bennitt... Need I say more?

Saturday, May 18

Lululemon at Keystone Crossing | Indianapolis, IN

Well this was a new experience. And yes, yoga in a mall before it opens is new. But what I didn't see coming was my lacking desire to do yoga today. Today was my first half-assed yoga class. So please take this review in stride, as I strangely didn't want to be there, and of course that will influence my perspective.

LOCATION: It was easy to get to the mall, but if you've never been here what door do you go to? The first one I tried was locked, the second one wasn't but was on the opposite side of the mall. Sigh. Park by the Cheese Cake Factory + Starbucks, using that same entrance. Parking is free!  
STUDIO: It's a Lululemon store—long narrow room with clothing racking of drool-worthy yoga clothing/gear pushed to the side. We faced the back of the store to avoid the distraction of mall-walking glory, I assume.
CLASS DESCRIPTION: I was under the assumption that these were beginning classes that would introduce you to instructors at different studios surrounding said Lululemon location. Similar to the places who have a Yoga in the Park program in place (which I love + you should take advantage of if you live near one). This class felt a bit more advanced.
INSTRUCTOR: James Jafari, after decades of practicing a variety of eastern arts found Yoga, during an extremely stressful period in his life. Yoga has provided him a way to find inner calm as well as blissful freedom from pain due to chronic injuries, received during years of participation in competitive athletics. James is a dedicated student of Yoga and in 2012, received his 200 hour certification from Cityoga under the instruction of Nikki Myers and Marsha Pappas. James brings his knowledge of the human body gained from his years (since 2000) as a full time, self employed, and Nationally Certified, Therapeutic Body Worker/Massage Therapist. James strives to serve students through an alignment based Yoga practice that is designed to deepen their body awareness, build strength, increase flexibility, strengthen focus and coordination, while maintaining poise and grace.
CONTACT: Lululemon's Facebook Page at this location

So yeah, I so didn't want to be at this class, but I shuffled in and set up in the back of the practice space. This was the first time "yoga voice" sorta bothered me. Have you ever had a friend who is a radio DJ and has his/her radio voice and then their regular voice? Yoga instructors do it too, but it's much more soothing, and less artificial... for the most part. Today, the voice was a bit too motivational speaker for me. It took some getting use to. See, judgmental smurf in attendance today, sorry.

James walked us through a really nice practice—it looks like he only teaches hot yoga at CityYoga, which I'm not a fan of, so that could be the third off-putting part of my morning (wait, what was the first? oh yeah, running all over a mall to find the store). It was a really great reminder of just staying open to the process of going to a new space with a new instructor. Also, a lesson on respecting your body's wishes. Half-assed at least gets me an hour of good breathing and focus on myself, so it's never wasted. But maybe I should have sought out a more meditative class.

He did encourage us to attempt a series of poses I couldn't (wouldn't?) do—but wanted to share as a wonderful goal for future practices. Marichyasana (there's great sequence photos here, starting with this photo—which is where we started):

But then we were encouraged to take it from sitting to balancing:

{photo source}
It was beautiful to see James execute it, but I was not up for the challenge today (oh really? who would have guessed that?!). So I observed, in awe of those trying.

James did do a great job of walking around the room adjusting all of us. Though there was rarely alternate poses for those at different levels, but his verbal instructions were articulate. I always appreciate new ways to hear instructions.

At the end of the day, the fact that Lululemon offers up free yoga classes in their communities is pretty great (even if it is a bit of a marketing ploy). And the opportunity to try new instructors in a neutral location for free is pretty appealing too. So, despite my Eyore attitude (ohhhhh dear), I would recommend trying these classes to learn more about your yoga community!

The entrance you want!