The Quintanas, Week 6: Twist, Turn, Tune Out

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

victoria michelle quintana yoga picture

"Look what I can do!" Credit: David Quintana





I had a great misconception. I thought that yoga was just twisting and breathing.

Boy, was I twisted!

Developing a yoga practice is so much more than contorting your body into a pretzel and breathing like Darth Vader. It's about our heads, too. Yoga actually means union of the mind and body.

Finding my way to a yoga class was a journey with twists and turns in itself.

I started with a class at Energy Yoga, a studio here in Doral, Fla. David Yglesias teaches Hatha yoga outdoors, with candles and incense burning and instrumental music playing. That Tuesday evening, as I moved through the poses, I concentrated on breathing and opening myself to relaxation. David said I needed to allow outside noises to disappear, and I thought: I have no issue allowing them to disappear, but will they be obedient and go away? As the class progressed, they definitely faded.

David, who had a gentle, positive teaching style, watched me and my classmates, most of whom were fairly advanced, in stances such as warrior pose, to see that we weren't doing anything incorrectly. He asked us to listen to our bodies and obey, not to force any position that felt uncomfortable. I drew my line at the inversions.

I felt the workout primarily in my abs the next few days as the shock of exercise -- something my body had not experienced since high school -- set in. I couldn't wait to go back!

Then the Healthy Families Challenge team suggested I try a different yoga class and choose one that was right for me.

I snickered at that idea. It's yoga. Breathe deeply in one place, breathe deeply in all of them.

But my schedule was a factor, and the second class was on a better night, so I went. I attended a Monday beginners' class at Pranoga Yoga Center, also in Doral.

It was completely different!

Kind of like a Caramel Macchiato and an Iced Caramel Macchiato -- boy, do I miss those! -- both sessions were incredibly awesome, and in no way alike.

Pranoga is housed in the Sadhu Vaswani Center and the resident yogi is Aditya Gir. He was born in India and trained under Swami Sadasivananda and Srinivasan.

This class had neither music nor aromatherapy, only quiet, simple instruction, with Aditya's soft voice carrying us through the positions. He walked around, watching, and explained how moving correctly maximizes yoga's effects. The class included a lesson in meditation, which I surprised myself by liking. Aditya told us to meditate on the God of our choice, and the experience was incredible. How often does a mom of four get to spend time inside her own head?

The class was diverse and had a special energy, I thought, with people of all different ages and shapes able to do difficult poses, such as the headstand. It made me feel like I might be able to do that some day, and by the end of my second class there, I knew I'd found my yoga home. Now I'm learning what the various poses are good for. Child's pose, a face-down fetal position, lets your organs shift into their ideal spots.

As strange as this may sound to someone -- like me -- I have never felt better. I've suffered issues with my balance, but am feeling less often as if I am going to fall over, and more open to higher-impact exercise.

Which is good, because Mama needs cardio! I'll begin going on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the rest of Team Quintana to American Top Team Doral, for some serious training.

Oh, the horror!!

Well, that used to be my reaction, but now, I'm actually looking forward to it. I think.

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.





How is the Quintana family doing? Check in on their progress!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.