Thursday, December 17, 2009

Things I've Been Missing - Yoga

If you know me in my personal life, then you have probably heard my say on more than one occasion "yeah, I'm just not a yoga person. I'm more like...'ommmmm.....what's for dinner....oommmm...oh crap, I forgot to feed the cat...'"

Until last night.

I was at one of the many office holiday parties I had to attend and after an unsuccessful attempt to help my team build a gingerbread house (mine collapsed after I finished the pez tile roof), a co worker of mine, who I ran into at my gym earlier this week, said she was headed out and that she was going to try and make the 7:30 yoga class at our gym.

I had been whining to anyone who would listen that I would likely crap out once I got back from the party and not to go the gym, but that I had wanted to go. This was all the motivation I needed. Do I like yoga? No. Did that occur to me when I asked if I could join her? Not really.

I'm going to sound like a real snot for a moment, so bear with me. Here are the reason I've never liked yoga:

- I do not like the yoga culture. I want to. But I just don't. I don't like having to be enlightened and superior in that enlightment. It's incredible exhausting to me.

- I feel like yoga is the club to which I was never invited. I am terrified to go to a class because, truthfully, I have no balance. Chadd can attest. I don't want to be that moron in the back of the class who starts the domino effect. And all the superior yogis will break out of their floating trance and look at me like some unenlightened twit (which I am). This is a serious fear of mine.

- I like having my heart rate high when I am working out. I am a product of Americanism. I like things fast. I do things fast. When forced to sit still at a desk for 8 hours, I have at least 4 tabs opened on a browser. I make lists upon lists of things I.Must.Do.ASAP. And this translates entirely to my workouts. Heart rate up, sweat pouring down, which is why I'm a runner.

- I like being the best. Look. I'm an instructor. I teach. I am typically the best one in my class when I'm not teaching because I'm damn good at it. Call me cocky (I am), but when in a group setting, aka, group fitness, I have to do it right. I don't know the first thing about yoga. I will not be the best, or even close to it. See domino effect fear above. I recognize it takes practice, but you can usually pass as "good" at step after 4 classes. That happens in yoga in like...4 years.

- I can't find a good starting point. I've been to beginning yoga (I lay on my back and thought about birds or something.) And then I've been to other yoga classes where, when they ask who is 10 classes or less into yoga, and I raise my hands, the instructor furrows their brow and goes "this might be a reach class for you." I'm sure this is bad timing on my part and I fully admit I haven't gone out of my way to try yoga, but it hasn't exactly welcomed me with open arms.

- My feet cramp up. Any suggestions on beating this one?

But, all those aside, I went because I wanted to go to the gym and for whatever reason, yoga sounded like a good idea.

And it was! I loved it. I had the best time sweating my butt off, exhausting my muscles, and truly feeling my body. I didn't have the ability to think beyond what I was doing, which is different that most yoga classes I have attended. I was neither bored, nor overwhelmed.

I enjoyed challenging myself. I was totally unaware of the people around me (aside from the woman who farted and the glistening specimen of the male species, shirtless across from me). But mostly, if I noticed someone, it was because I was just looking in their direction. I never felt scruitinized, I never felt intimidated. Instead, I felt like I got a great workout and a great stretch all in one.

It didn't hurt that the instructor was very funny, forgiving, and not at all militant like some yogis I have known. He played caribbean christmas music (steel drums!) and the grinch's song. People asked questions through class, murmured to each other occasionally. It really was a relaxing, but good workout.

I managed to do a full "wheel" pose, also known as a back bend, and for about 3 seconds, some sort of thing where my knees were on my forearms and I was standing on my hands. Accomplishment!

I'm glad I went last night because this morning I had agreed to meet my morning gym buddy at 6:30. Let me tell you. Without class last night, I would have fallen right back into the pattern I've been in. It wasn't that it wasn't a good class, it was, it just wasn't as friendly as the night before.

Of course, this is because it's apparently a level 2-3 class (this is not on the schedule, mind you). It was also held in the spa...steam room doors open, sauna doors opened (also not on the schedule). Almost bikram yoga (again, not on the schedule). All of this alone would have scared me away from the class.

Thankfully, the instructor picked up on the fact that we were not enlightened yogis, so she described a lot of the movements. But, people, is it just me, or are all the real words for yoga poses almost impossible to distinguish from each other? The one for childs pose and lie on your back are astonishingly familiar to my very untrained ear. She asked if we were ready for garubaisghvarish and, face down on my mat, sweat driping down my back, I was terrified to ask what that meant. Turns out, it mean lie on your back and doze off.

I think this is a new thing for me. I want to keep it up. I may not stick to having Niagra Falls of sweat running down my back on Thursday mornings, but Wednesday nights I can do.

What's your exercise aversion/fear? I encourage you to try it out, it might not be as bad as you think.

(Don't forget to give me 20!)


  1. You just have to find instructors you like. One of my favorite classes is a clinic at my gym, where there are rarely more than a few of us there. Sometimes it's a beginner lesson (e.g. "this is dog pose") where the teacher corrects your posture etc, or sometimes if there are no first-timers there we go over what we need help with and can ask questions. Then there's a short regular class after. It's fantastic.

  2. Yeah, I should know better, especially considering that as an instructor myself, I know that people either like my class or they don't. Alas! But now I know!!