RIGA - Two days ago I left Daya Yoga studio feeling relaxed and refreshed. I remember being surprised at the spring in my step, and it even seemed as though I was thinking more clearly. This having been my first yoga experience, I couldn't quite understand why people considered it an intense form of exercise (since we spent a large part of the time relaxing), but I was more than satisfied with the experience 's albeit a bit abashed about my inflexibility.
Yesterday the relaxed, peaceful feeling had largely worn off, but I still caught myself standing up a little straighter and breathing a little easier all day.
Today I know why yoga is considered arduous exercise. My back, chest, arms and legs are so sore that I can't help but wince every time I reach for something more than a few feet away. But it is a good kind of sore, a rewarding kind of sore.
Daya Yoga has been one of Riga's leading yoga studios since it opened in March 2003. The center has become so popular that it can now be difficult to get a lesson without booking well in advance.
"People really feel refreshed after the classes. I have classes at eight o'clock in the morning and people say they walk away feeling like they are ready to start the day 's they get energy from it. There are also late classes for those who want to relax after the day," Yoga Instructor Natalie Gorohova said.
"We have a very easy-going approach. I try to do things the fun way," Gorohova said.
The studio teaches hatha yoga, which focuses on purifying the mind and body through postures, meditation and breath control. Hatha is the kind of yoga which is most common in the West.
Hatha yoga is said to have been disseminated when a fish overheard two gods discussing the discipline. Shiva took mercy on the fish, made him a Siddha and named him Matsyendranaatha. The fish then went on to introduce hatha yoga to the world of men.
Daya Yoga studio, however, tries to steer away from the religious aspects of the art, preferring instead to focus on the more physical side of the discipline.
"Many people don't want to do yoga because they think there are some religious beliefs involved. We don't try to push anyone. We focus on the physical part of it and just tell people a bit about the theory behind it. For those who want to go further, we have specific classes on the theory," Gorohova said.
While the studio mostly offers classes in Latvian and Russian, those who choose to take them in English will not be let down by the level of language. Natalie proudly said she prepares all of her lessons in English 's which means no awkward translations. Her English is so good it is hard to tell she is not a native speaker.
The yoga center is even planning to start offering English-language lessons for kids. "The idea is that you teach kids by introducing some animals to them. So when in the dog position they bark, and in the snake position they hiss," Gorohova said.
Not only does Daya Yoga studio offer Yoga classes, there is also a health center where people can get a massage or aromatherapy. The center even provides weekly traditional Indian dance lessons.
Each lesson ends with a cup of all natural tea, a welcome treat after a surprisingly difficult workout.
Stabu 51/2, Rigawww.joga.lv