Sandy Creek Yoga with Brittany Barnes
For my first official Vesitgo Experience, I decided to join friends for some relaxing Sandy Creek yoga in my favorite Athens outdoor hideaway spot. When we showed up, our instructor Brittany Barnes greeted us and revealed that this was also her first time instructing for Vestigo, so we all got comfortable with one another very quickly. Brittany had gone ahead of us and picked out a great spot in the park with big trees all around and plenty of shade, so we followed her there and started to get set up. We explained to her that we were all, for the most part, beginners and were hoping to learn something new during our session. She was excited and we were a bit intimidated. Brittany started handing out blocks and extension straps and it became clear just how new to yoga we were as only two of us had actual yoga mats and the others were using towels. We laughed at Tia’s mat, and that even though it belonged to her roommate, she was clearly the most advanced out of the four of us. Tia joked that the saying on her mat was what she wanted to get out of this experience and then we got started.
Right away I noticed how perfect Brittany’s voice was for yoga instruction. I immediately felt at ease; both in a meditation sense, but also in a sense that her instruction was easy to follow and I didn’t need to be insecure. We started with an Ujjayi Pranayama Breath, nicknamed ocean breath. Brittany instructed us to inhale and exhale through the nose deeply, creating an ocean sound. Then we continued the Vinyasa style of class in which we used breathing to help us transition between each pose.
We continued with a Sun Salutation sequence of poses throughout the middle of the session. Brittany was able to draw on the nature around us to help us understand the structure of each pose, whether we were posing like a mountain or like a tree. This really did help us complete poses that we hadn’t done before. I found meditation was also easier to complete because I was able to just focus on the sun on my face, or just focus on matching my breathing with the breeze. Being outside really added to the physical experience that yoga is all about.
Brittany did a really good job of explaining each position to us, not only in how we were supposed to hold our bodies, but also what we were supposed to be feeling, why that was important for our bodies, and how it would improve various parts of our lives. A very special part about being in a class with just four students and one instructor was that we all felt very comfortable asking questions at any time. This allowed us to receive an education that we would not be able to get in a regular classroom setting. Being beginners this was really valuable to us as a group. We all agreed that having a more private session with an instructor provided us with new confidence in our ability to do yoga and encouragement to become more involved into the yoga community in Athens.
Once the final cycle was over it took us all a really long time to get moving again. It was clear that we are in a sort of post-yoga peace. We joked that it was the “life is beautiful” feeling. When we finally got in our car we were astonished at the time! It had been about an hour and a half since we arrived and it didn’t feel like that at all. Brittany was an even better instructor than we realized. All in all, our first Sandy Creek yoga session made for the perfect Sunday afternoon!