Keep Fit: Achieving Nirvana at Yoga in the Vines

I’m an accidental yogi.

I initially went to yoga classes in college because friends did. I very quickly learned that my favorite part was Savasana—the end of class when you lie on your back and succumb to total relaxation. I so deeply got into Savasana that I would often fall asleep, though it was only intensely embarrassing once—when the instructor had to wake me up as other people were packing up.

After that experience, yoga classes slowly drifted to the bottom of my list of things to do. Not just because I was perpetually exhausted, but because I preferred to run. I preferred to be outside. The smell of incense sometimes gave me a headache. And, I was bothered that I had a back operation a few years before that somewhat limited my ability to twist into the different poses.

But, as a runner and overall fitness junkie, I know that yoga is good for both mind and body. Graduating college and entering the workforce brought on a whole new set of stressors. Now that I was on a more normal sleep schedule, I decided to give yoga another try.

I know that I need to develop core muscles and arm strength. Once you’re warmed up, the deep stretches that come with yoga also help to sustain a healthy, active lifestyle.

No longer a time to indulge a quick nap, I was surprised to realize how much I still enjoyed Savasana. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to just lie down, to just be, is something I’m not very good at otherwise. A really motivated teacher will interject calming words during Savasana. Someone telling you to relax your face, your jaw, your fingers really makes a difference. As a generally positive person, I would not have initially thought that I needed someone to say something as simple as “enjoy the moment” or “think about why you came today,” but it’s refreshing to be coaxed into taking time to stop thinking about the minutia of the day-to-day.

I soon began to look forward to yoga for both its physical and mental benefits. But I still didn’t go enough. Especially as summer approached, it was hard to wrap my head around spending an hour sweating indoors.

I’m very quickly realizing that Wölffer’s Yoga in the Vines classes could quell all of my concerns. Excited at the prospect of spending an hour in the vines, stretching, strengthening and searching for balance against the backdrop of a setting sun, I attended class last Thursday, taught by Jenna.

The late-May evening was a little chilly, and Jenna considered that in her instruction, as we went just fast enough to keep warm but not so fast that we were stretching cold muscles beyond what we should be doing. Despite the initial chill, the sound of birds and the soft breeze truly helped me feel like I was both doing this for myself, and as a part of something bigger.

I enjoyed the series of sun salutations, which combined familiar yoga poses, like downward dog, and moments of stretching. The movements make me feel like I’m getting a physical workout. I’m not sure if it was Jenna or the beautiful setting or both, but for whatever reason this was the first class where I was able to focus on the benefits of the class as opposed to concentrating on the difficulty of the poses.

If you’re someone who thinks yoga in the vines sounds so “Hamptons,” you’re right. There really is nothing like searching for inner peace—even just an hour of inner peace—against a setting sun, surrounded by manicured grapevines (not to mention the thought of a post-class glass of wine).

Wölffer hosts Yoga in the Vines at various times throughout the week. The schedule is available online at wolffer.com

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