Circa 2005. My hubby Aaron and I just moved from Hayward (East Bay) to Palo Alto. We spent the first two weeks in our new neighborhood trying fancy restaurants downtown, enjoying the best desserts---mostly gelato---and just taking to our new home. We trekked all over town looking for new experiences and that's when we picked up a schedule for classes at YogaSource. One thing had lead to another and BAM! there we were part of YogaSource's check in team. Aaron and I have dabbled in Bikram before but the class we volunteered for was called Power Yoga. Yeah, it sounded intimidating but we thought: How hard can it be? And lucky for us, we got to meet for the first time the very kind and down to earth Mary Lynn Fitton.
Mary Lynn was also debuting the same night we joined YogaSource. Friendly and warm, she assured us we would do fine in class. As class got started, Mary Lynn softly introduced herself then asked every student in the room to say his/her name, and when we finished with introduction, she opened up a little book and read a poem. Mary Lynn then asked everyone to stand on the top of the mat, close our eyes, and begin to deepen the breath. So this is power yoga?
A few breaths later, Mary Lynn softly asked to gently open the eyes, inhale those arms up, come to a forward fold, come up for a flat back, step back to plank, take a vinyasa (vinya what??), and for the next 90 minutes we kept moving! She put us in twists, binds, leg lifts, headlocks... Okay maybe not a headlock, but holy sh@t man, WTF was happening? Soon my clothes were soaked in sweat. I was drenched in the first 25 minutes of class. I have never seen my ankles sweat like that before. I remember thinking to myself, what kind of yoga is this? How did this petite unassuming woman lead me into the most awkward challenging poses? But I wasn't trippin---even though I was a hot mess on the outside, I was feeling good on the inside!!
And before you know it I was shirtless laying on my back and resting as Mary Lynn offered up final sivasana. Holy cow man, finally a break! I closed my eyes and felt my body feeling tingly all over. We all made our way back up to a seated pose. I found it challenging to listen to the faint voice speaking in the room. I heard the word Namaste, and everyone said it altogether. I opened my eyes and I just sat there still dripping sweat, feeling euphoric. I did not wanna get up, I was too busy enjoying my buzz. Thank you for sharing your practice, said Mary Lynn... I will be here every Wednesday.
I came home after class, had a late dinner, and slept like a baby. This would become our Wednesday ritual for about a year. And Mary Lynn would become part of our lives forever.
Please join us for a one night only as Mary Lynn Fitton unleashes power yoga at Yoga Belly this Saturday at 2pm. This is a donation-based class where all proceeds go to The Art of Yoga Project.