Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mental musings of a potential yoga convert

So I was planning to hit a "gentle yoga" class at the Y last night, but at the 11th hour, something about bending over repeatedly in public in workout gear stabbed at my self-esteem and I decided to do yoga at home instead. Quite cowardly, I know, but as it turns out, it was a success and then some, thanks to Husby who, as I was digging in the dining room for my Yoga for Arthritis book, commented, "why don't you see what yoga workouts are On Demand?" I checked and sure enough, there were several, including a beginner's workout, which seemed the wise place to start considering it's probably been years since I've contorted my body to my Kathy Smith (it's VHS, for gods sakes!).

Never mind the fact that those DVDs and practice vids never take enough time during poses.....I've never attended a real yoga class, but I imagine it as being similar to how Tai Chi looks, where you find your center with a couple of breaths in each pose...a slower process than you see on most media. But another advantage of working yoga from home initially (for me) is in the fact that the workouts do require some adjustments for my body type. I'd have felt like an elephant on roller skates in a Y class. I'm a plus-sized woman with flat feet, knock knees, and weak knee joints. As I was being shown poses, some I was able to do fine, some required me to use my yoga blocks (hey, whaddaya know, they DO hold my weight!), and some required me to find the stance and then adjust my balance further so that I was feeling the stretch properly without doing damage to something. Since you're supposed to do yoga in bare feet, poses like Tree become a cross between laughable and challenging, because your balance/center of gravity is in quite a different place than the skinny broad showing you the pose. When I finally suck up my courage to attend a class, I'll probably add to my freak status by leaving my shoes on, so my orthotics can at least help a little with the balance issue (until I can invent yoga socks with built-in orthotics for flat-footed people...there's gotta be a market for that).

Sidenote: interesting...REALLY good notes on Tree pose in Yoga Journal's website (and all other poses probably, gotta check)...don't feel so bad anymore about my inability to get my leg up there.....

Anyhoo, I slogged my way through the workout, kind of half-assed, because as I mentioned, the dang thing doesn't allow a couple of breaths between poses. But I was getting the gist of the moves, finding my center, not hurting myself. Was pretty drained afterward, felt like a real workout (duh!). And two funny things happened...

I'm vegging in front of the TV last night afterward, watching Dragonfly, because i don't have the patience for anything else that's on at that particular time...and as the movie's finishing up, the tears are streaming down my face. Yea, it's a powerful movie that gets you thinking about death (which naturally gets me thinking about Dad), but this wasn't about that...I'm pretty sure it was a toxin release from the yoga. And this morning, my body felt different, taller somehow...kicking my legs out of bed in the morning, they didn't feel like mine; they felt like a cross between a daddy-long-legs and a ballet dancer. Which is hilarious for someone like me, because then you catch a glance at yourself in a mirror and sigh, but still, the strength and energy I've had today is something I'm VERY interested in repeating. Tonight I'm doing cardio at the Y, but Thursday night is going to be more yoga. I think I may be finally hooked.

Image from here.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Hey Melanie,
On the yoga, the speed that you move through the poses is largely dependent upon the type of yoga you are practicing. For example, ashtanga yoga is designed to be moved through quickly for the cardio aspect. Also, on the wearing of shoes, do so if you feel more comfortable, but after you get the hand of a few poses, I would try it barefoot. I have foot issues and I find that yoga helps correct them. Just my totally unsolicited advice.