I attended a yoga class Thursday evening. It was my first time at an organized yoga session. I held up fairly well under the circumstances. By the end of the hour, though, I had worked up a good sweat. I think I might have been the only one of the eight attendees who was sweating. I was also the only male. The only pose I really excelled at was the corpse pose at the end of the session. That felt pretty good. I could have fallen asleep if I had let myself.
Years ago when I was an avid runner I practiced a half dozen or so yoga positions that were specifically recommended to runners wanting to improve flexibility in muscles. I didn’t take a class to learn the poses. I just followed directions in a paperback and tried to mimic the posers in the photos. Whether I was ever got very “good” at it is a matter of debate. But I think those yoga positions helped me quite a bit. Practicing them over a period of months and years kept my muscles fairly well stretched and loose.
Since those days, I have done little stretching and have spent many hours sitting over desks and computers. I have allowed my posture to mold my muscles and the muscles then to hold my posture. A lot of work lies ahead if I’m to remedy this situation.
Erin Long, my open training instructor at Kachmann Mind Body Institute, pushed me to attend the yoga class. She will be out of town for my next training session on Monday, and told me that I must attend at least one yoga class before she returns or she will kick me out of the program. I know she was kidding, but I know that she really thinks yoga might be the key to getting my back and shoulders into better shape. We shall see.
I can feel the effects of the yoga poses. I don’t have any pain, but I do have some minor discomfort in certain muscles of my neck, my back, and my butt. The chair pose was particularly entertaining. This pose, shown in the photo at right, requires the utmost concentration and, as the seconds roll on, a certain high level of pain tolerance. I speak for myself, of course. By the end of the pose (which lasted for perhaps 30 seconds), my legs were shaking and my arms were ready to drop. Something that hard must be good for you.
Another pose that proved challenging was the boat pose. You’re on your fanny on the floor, legs held up off the floor and arms forward. This pose is difficult for someone like me with minimal behind. I have little padding to support the full weight of my body. That means I have to wiggle around to find the most advantageous spot on my butt to act as a fulcrum. After a few seconds of wiggling, I hit the sweet spot and found my balance. It seemed like we held that pose for a half hour, but it was only a minute or so. The instructor, Christa Dehner, complimented the class on our strong cores for being able to
hold the position. Christa didn’t know it, but I was straining mightily to keep from collapsing. The downward dog felt downright refreshing after the boat.
I don’t know if I can manage two nights a week of exercising. One night of yoga and one of strenuous resistance training might compliment one another and make me strong and flexible at the same time. That would be good.