Friday, September 11, 2009
I have been secretly practicing Yoga and I wanted to share with everyone my progress.
Okay that isn’t me, but when I was searching Google images for an appropriate photo to introduce this post I found that if I squint really hard and stand back about ten feet this guy does sort of look like me. At least he has the same hair that sticks up in the back.
Yesterday I took my first Yoga class. Both Craig and Nibra (my strength trainer) have suggested I try Yoga. The McGaw YMCA in Evanston offers a variety of Yoga classes and Craig suggested I enroll with Ine, who teaches several of the Hatha Yoga classes.
From the course description provided by the Y:
Yoga is an ancient practice that helps create a sense of union in body and mind and spirit. The physical postures, breathing exercises and mediation practices of yoga have been proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and regulate heartbeat. Participants leave feeling more relaxed, while increasing flexibility and creating harmony in the mind and body. Hatha Yoga is a series of physical postures and breathing exercises that balances the opposing masculine forces of the body, the “sun” (ha) and the “moon” (tha).
Since I wasn’t really sure what my masculine and feminine forces were, I decided more research was needed. I found a fifteen minute youtube video of a guy going through a series of movements while soothing music played in the background. I reclined on my couch and watch the whole thing and it was quite relaxing.
Most of my YMCA sessions begin between before 6 am. This course was at 10 am and there is a whole different group of folks at the Y at that hour. I showed up yesterday, feeling like it was my first day in a new school. Didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t know anyone. There were two other guys and about a dozen women in the class, so right away I sensed that the ha / tha opposing forces were not really going to be in balance.
First thing I figured out was that I didn’t need my shoes. I followed the others, grabbed a spongy mat and a thin mat and set myself up in the middle of the floor.
Ine, a very fit woman in my age cohort, welcomed back the class (there had been no classes during the last two weeks of August) and then she came over to where I was setting up and introduced herself. She asked me what my experience level was (zero) and what had inspired me to try yoga. She said to not push too hard. That yoga was not about straining and pain. It was about relaxation, breathing, balance.
I knew Yoga would be a challenge. I can’t even sit comfortably in a cross-legged position so trying to hold certain positions is difficult. My biggest surprise was the strength component of the workout. My arms and legs were tired and sore at the end of the ninety minutes.
Ine was an excellent instructor. She managed to keep the class moving along without a hiccup, but still managed to spend one-on-one time wth the new students. She helped us to get in the right position and offered sincere encouragement.
I really enjoyed the class. It is exactly what I need to help me become a stronger, more durable triathlete. I will definitely be back next week.
Workouts: Thursday: Yoga (90 minutes); Friday: Swim (60 minutes);