Thursday, June 23, 2011


One of Kovas' barefoot running pals was there
After last Friday's bike fitting, when we couldn't get me into a more aero position because my flexibility is so awful, I finally decided it was time to do something about it.  I'm like that.  Though I might be acutely aware of an issue for a long time, I usually decide to act on it as the result of a singular circumstance or event.  And when I do, I jump right on it.  I have a lot of things on my bucket list.  But my bucket list is also like a mystery grab bag - I never know what I am going to tackle until I get a hair up my ass about it.

Wednesday workouts currently call for core work.  But I thought it might be a good idea to substitute it with yoga instead.  I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about yoga past a general understanding that it addresses flexibility issues and that many of the yoga postures would work my core anyway.  So the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  My gym had a class scheduled for 5:30.  The schedule simply said "yoga" though, so I had no idea what that meant.  Was it a beginners class where I would be fine?  Or was it a more  advanced class whereby walking through the door is an acknowledgement that the attendee has a basic understanding of what is about to happen and knows the bare minimum as to not be a liability to the class?  A mystery.

But what's the worst thing that could happen?  I figured if I got there early enough I could claim the spot nearest the door and then make a quick and quiet egress if the shit hit the fan.  So I got there, claimed that spot and waited for the class to start.

Once we started, I quickly learned 3 things:
- Yoga is hard.
- If I had any lingering doubts that me being inflexible was just a big misunderstanding between me and my body, the proof is just too irrefutable to deny anymore.
- Yoga is awesome.
I knew it was going to be hard.  I've heard enough arguments between yoga enthusiasts and their detractors about the relative difficulty of yoga, and always sensed that the enthusiasts where right.  But you can't put a face to the pain until you meet that face.

As to the flexibility?  I was maxing out at about 50 or 60% extended compared to almost everyone in the room.  I was the only one who's knees started quivering when I tried to touch my toes.  And I was the only one who fell over during the one leg balancing postures.  I went down - hard and loud, to the soundtrack of a new-age flute solo dubbed over the sound of a bubbling brook.

But despite the challenges, I loved it.  It's enough of a core workout so I didn't miss a thing by substituting in the yoga.  And there is no way I would never have thought to move my body into most of the postures we used on my own.  Plus I liked the tempo of the class.  Over the hour, we started with a warm-up, then quickly moved into some really challenging stuff and then had a nice slow cool down where by then end we were just lying on our backs.

By the way, I'm sorry I'm using terms like "really challenging stuff".  All the postures have names, I just don't remember many of them.  I was too busy trying to inhale and exhale correctly, which I really couldn't do that well either.
Anjali Mudra
The one movement name I do remember is the Anjali Mudra, or the gesture of respect.  We'd come to this at the end of each series of postures.  Right away, I found it to be really powerful and cleansing.  Something about being in this position instantly revitalizes you and gets you ready for what's next.

This morning, I feel like I had a workout.  And I can't say that I feel this way after every "core" workout I've done.  So I'll definitely be going back.


M said...

Your experience sounds very similar to mine. I end up loving it by the end, but damn if I do not find it near impossible through the duration of the workout! Way to stick with it though!

Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom said...

That's so great! I love yoga, it's an amazing workout for your mind and body. Hope you keep it up. If you ever get a chance, you should try Bikram yoga (or hot yoga). It's incredible, I'm ruined for "normal" yoga now, lol. Glad you enjoyed your yoga class though!

Unknown said...

Hopefully it will help with flexibility.

My flexibility is pretty bad but yet I am in a pretty aggressive position on the bike now. When I had my first tri bike I looked like I was on a beach cruiser, now I don't even use spacers. The big change for me was weight loss and just overall become more lean. I went from about 170lbs to 150lbs and the ability to become more "aero" followed.

Yoga is great at helping you get a lean body composition as well so stick to it and the aggressive position will likely become more attainable.

Tina said...

As a yoga teacher who often works with beginners, I loved reading this. It's funny how people new to yoga, especially athletes, approach their first class expecting to do at a certain level, yet you wouldn't ever expect someone new to running to just be able to bust out a 5K, right? It takes practice. And yoga is an eternal practice. That's one of the reasons why it rocks, you will never master everything.
I often hear people say "I'm too inflexible to do yoga." and I just laugh and say "That's like saying you're too dirty to take a shower!"
:) Plain and simple, yoga gets you where you want to go, no matter your destination.
Enjoy the journey.

Tri4Success said...

And the evolution of the metrosexual triathlete continues. Just curious, did you consider pilates at all?

XLMIC said...

What... no pics? I want to see this.

All joking aside (though I am not joking about us all getting to see pics of you twisting yourself into a pretzel), I think you will once again change your life for the better if you continue with yoga.

Good for you for figuring out what you need and then actually making it happen :)

Jason said...

Awesome. Glad you enjoyed it. There is always something cleansing about yoga.

I did not tell you b/c I wanted to you to experience it for yourself but the lay down at the end is my favorite. Every yoga instructor I have ever had told me not to fall asleep and that you should concentrate on your breathing and nothing else....needless to say I am usually woken up by my snoring b/c I let it all just leave my mind and body.

Lucas R. Tucker said...

sounds like a cool experience. I have the intention to start myself. I have a dvd I plan to use.

financecupcake said...

Good for you for trying something new! It sounds like yoga will be good for you and your bod. :)

Unknown said...

I tried yoga once but got so frustrated with how bad I was at it. Probably should have stuck with it... maybe I'll give it another shot!

Unknown said...

This post made me smile!! I am so happy you are trying yoga. It's easy to get hung up on the fact that we're runners and it hurts to touch our toes. But that isn't the important part. Whether or not you touch your toes is irrelevant. Let go of all expectations and let your breath be your guide. The benefits you will reap are even greater than you can imagine. Best of luck on YOUR yogic journey. :)

KovasP said...

Yoga is brilliant fun. I'd love to try Bikram as I really enjoy sweating.

Aimee said...

I love yoga! I'm so glad you liked it! Yay! I honestly think it has helped me a ton as a triathlete!!

Ransick said...

I've never done yoga but have considered it due to the benefits you mentioned. Sounds like a great workout if you can fit it in your schedule.

Rad Runner said...

Ive been doing a lot more of this.. I am not great at x/t esP in the summer, when i could just F-in GO OUTSIDE AND RUN IN THE GLORIOUS WEATHER..
But yoga pretty much kicks a. its awesome, and really does a body fab.

The Green Girl said...

After getting chewed out by my personal trainer this morning and then reading this post, I'm getting the hint.

I'm way too tight and I need more yoga (or yoga-type stretching) in my life. Urgh!

it's all about pace said...

I'd seen these bumper stickers with Namaste on them and I thought it was the name of an Alternative Rock band....

Chris K said...

Seriously, I'm sure you are more flexible than me. I am THAT bad. I am always the least flexible and least skillful when I do yoga.

Dude, you have to try Bikram's Yoga. You must. I insist. It's a trip and I think you will love it.

Chris K said...

Or hate it.


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