My First 30 Days at Arkansas Yoga Collective

Last October, I suffered a gnarly ankle sprain while out for a run at CrossFit (during the warm-up!). It was the most recent and worst sprain in a long personal history of ankle sprains, and I spent about 6 months rehabbing it on my own and going to physical therapy in an attempt to recover and get back to normal activity levels. In April, with my ankle still swollen from the October injury, I finally admitted that it was not going to get better without intervention. I had surgery to repair my ligament damage and remove some loose bodies, one of which turned out to be a piece of bone over 1/4″ in diameter. Wow!

After completing my initial non-weight-bearing period and several weeks of PT, I had the following conversation with my doctor:

Me: “Is it ok if I go to something like Yoga?”
Doc: “Yoga’s a lot of stretching, right?”
Me: “Yeah”
Doc: “Ok, then that would be good.”

Thoroughly considered. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I’ll get right on that.

I still had a few weeks before I would be cleared to go back to CrossFit, so I grabbed a $50 gift card to Arkansas Yoga Collective (AYC) that had been sitting around our house for a while and headed over to the studio.

The first person I met was Wesley, one of the owners. I explained to Wesley that I wanted to put $5 with my gift card and buy the 5 classes for $55 deal. Wesley suggested that I should instead buy the $30 for 30 days new student special and leave $20 on my card. I was hesitant because I was really just trying to bridge the gap until I could get back to CrossFit, and I wasn’t sure if I would attend 5 classes in a month or not, so I didn’t want to waste my gift card.

Wesley suggested that if I had a month of unlimited classes, I might actually make more time to come, and I decided to give it a try. If I could somehow squeeze in 5 classes in 30 days, I would at least “break even” compared to my original plan.

Because, when choosing a health improvement endeavor, it’s obviously all about the math

So, how did it go?

I took my first class on that same afternoon, a Friday, right after signing up for the new student special. Wesley was the teacher and I loved the class. It wasn’t too difficult and I left there feeling great going into the weekend. I could totally handle this yoga thing and surely I could squeeze in 4 more classes in 29 days.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I showed up again the next day for Wesley’s Saturday morning class. This class was significantly more difficult. It turns out I had attended a beginner class Friday afternoon and my expectations about this whole yoga thing were a bit incorrect. The Saturday class was “All Levels” and quite a bit more strenuous. I was covered in sweat by the end of the class and I had that great feeling you get from just the right amount of physical exertion. It had been months since I had been able to reach that state because of my ankle. I started making plans to come back as often as I could.

The next day I grabbed my trusty galactic garden cats headband (shown below) and headed back for Sunday evening class.

It took almost a month, but I’ve finally started getting some compliments on this headband.

Tara was the teacher for Sunday evening, and I attended both Yoga and Guided Meditation classes, back to back. Again, I loved the yoga class, and I’ve been meditating for a while on my own, so it was really nice to have a community and a teacher to support me.

Two days later, I discovered the awesomeness of the 5:30 am sunrise yoga class. This quickly became my favorite class of the week. The class starts in almost complete darkness and the sun comes up and illuminates the studio from the outside as the class progresses. It is a fantastic way to start a weekday, before the hustle and bustle of taking kids to school and then putting in a full day (or more) in the office.

This is totally what it feels like, even if you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the McDonald’s arches through the window.

At this point, I kind of settled into a pattern. Every Sunday night I attend All Levels Yoga followed by Guided Meditation, and then 2-3 mornings per week of the 5:30 am All Levels Sunrise Yoga.

I’ve had 5 different teachers and everyone has been amazing, but my favorite teachers are easily Tara and Farida. I make it a point to attend their classes as much as possible. Tara teaches on Sunday evenings and I love the combination of yoga into guided meditation. By about Thursday each week, I’m really starting to crave the upcoming Sunday night classes.

I’ve been attending Farida’s classes mostly at 5:30 am and her classes are the easiest for me to follow, as a relative newbie. The sequence flows very well from one pose to the next, and she does a great job of explaining how to scale things so that I can always find an appropriately challenging variation of each pose, and not feel left out of the class. I also like her sense of humor and her teaching style is very accessible. One thing I really appreciate is how she moves around the room so that whatever direction we are facing, we can always see her demonstrating the pose without craning our necks around or coming out of the pose to look. It seems like a small thing but it is extremely helpful.

Today, I finished my 30-day new student special. I ended up attending 23 classes! I spent, in total, more than 1 whole calendar day in Arkansas Yoga Collective in the last 30 days. I have to say a huge thanks to Wesley for giving me the nudge to sign up for an unlimited month. I can’t believe I thought that I might not be able to fit in 5 classes in 30 days.

As for results? In just a month, I can tell a huge improvement in my strength, balance, and flexibility. I really look forward to each time I’m able to go in there. I can’t say enough good things about Arkansas Yoga Collective. I’ll be signing up for another month of unlimited classes at full price later this week.

AYC is one of my happy places now.


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