“When I first came to It’s Yoga I was like, ‘Ummm no. I really don’t want to go upside down.’ Through coming and watching other people I was like, ‘Maybe I can do them.'” Michelle Zydorczyk puts out there – what pulls her to Power Yoga.
The ninety-minute session on the mats at It’s Yoga on Toledo’s Central Avenue is where Zydorczyk zones in on her zen. She’s a substance abuse counselor at the Zepf Center. She uses the practice as a tool to pry her pupils off of harmful “medication”. Medication they can get chemical free on a mat.
Zydorczyk, who accented her black and red hot yoga gear with gold hoop earrings nods her head, “It’s mind over matter. It’s not your body that won’t go upside down, it’s your mind.”
“Look up at your thumb even if you don’t normally. Just take a look, breathe and don’t worry about falling,” instructs It’s Yoga manager and fitness model, Sydney Parker.
“This class makes you get lost in the flow, and it’s like moving meditation,” David Schmenk, a Toledo website designer sweats the class out with a headband around his spiked hair.
Schmenk strips off his tank ten minutes into the flow to reveal a string of Chinese symbols tattooed down the top of his spine.
“I honestly don’t know what they mean. I got them when I was 16-years old,” he admits honestly. “This class to me is just about being present and focusing in and applying the same thing in life. Like stuck in traffic. Instead of freaking out and getting mad, I just take a couple deep breaths, focus in, try to be present, try not be caught up in everything going on.”
Schmenk is one of four men making this date with the mat. Mustering up all the muscle and mind power they can to power through the sixteenth Chatarunga.
“This is a lot of Chatarungas,” Sydney coaches “we want strong shoulders!”
“The class is dude-friendly,” her boyfriend Scotty Williamson from Michigan points out. “It’s definitely a lot harder than I thought it was but I love it. I realize the transformation from where I was before. This Power Yoga class gets you stretched out and heated if you keep pushin’ through, and breathin’.”
A Glass City girl from birth, Parker points out the class concept. Power Yoga is designed to empower from within. Yogis are encouraged to find inner-strength and bust any limiting beliefs through the breath.
This powerful practice eventually showcases a dream dance, the arm-balancing split, translated in Sanskrit to Eka Pada Koudinyasana, and Parker is demonstrative that breath can take a person to new dimensions. She teaches Restorative Yoga at this location three days a week and Power Yoga two times. Though the sequence has everyone in a sweat she surprisingly urges beginners to come in regardless of Ahamkara, otherwise known as the ego.
“I would myth bust that this is for advanced only. My friend Michelle just unveiled to me this was her first time ever coming to a yoga class, and she just did amazing with her hair down. I would say that anyone could do yoga even if you’ve never tried it.
Yoga at home is nothing compared to a studio. You have a room full of people, there’s an energy here and you never know what to expect. When you’re being pushed and challenged a little bit you don’t know where you can go,” Parker points out.
Donning fuchsia leggings, an Om tattoo on the nape of her neck and a white tank printed with, Live Your Practice, Parker says simply set your mind to the mantra, “Everything we do on the mat is how we’re showing up off the mat, too. Stay in inquiry and stay in your breath. Anyone can start to have natural realizations.”
Zydorczyk tilts her head, covered in bobbed, high-lighted brown hair, and reflects on her inversions, “I haven’t mastered them. I still very much need the wall.”
In time, patience, persistency and self-compassion partnered with breath will bring her to the precise place she needs to be. It’s Yoga Toledo is located at 4324 West Central Avenue. Check the schedule for Power Yoga and other class times.