Today I completed my third yoga session. The class is taught by an apparently-quite-skilled (and patient and helpful!) instructor here at the main Google gym, and she’s noted that it’s essentially “Iyengar-flow” style.
I, however, have decided to nickname it D’oh-whoa style. D’oh: not in a painful sense, but in a OH HAI I HAZ HIDDN MUSSELS kinda way. And whoa: just absolute wow in watching my classmates.
Let me clarify. This class—though filled with more intermediate/advanced folks than beginners—features people of many ages and all body types. I’m staring at shapes and movements… people doing handstands and headstands and balancing with grace… and I’m admiring deceptively simple and stunning lines.
Maybe it’s my background as a dancer that has me being so observant, so in awe, and also so embarrassed that my body is not moving like that, probably will never move like that. And yet, despite my dancing experiences and mindset, I’m also feeling a bit shy and embarrassed about staring. Perhaps being a guy (but, interestingly, far from the only guy in this class) is partly to blame for my self-consciousness… not primarily about my own un-performance, but about my watching of others, learning, trying to do what they’re doing, feeling what they’re feeling.
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The instructor kindly noted that—while most can achieve great improvement and wonderful results from yoga—some are innately, genetically predisposed to being able to do certain things. I, seemingly, do not have such genes.
But I’ve already felt good things from this class. I’ve enjoyed the feeling of stretchiness and the body awareness afterward (with surprisingly and happily not too much soreness). And after each class, I seem to be in a better mood than before I hit the mat.
So I’ll likely continue this, along with my (typically) once-weekly weight lifting and about once-weekly swing dancing and/or waltzing. You may note that all of these activities have two things in common: they’re improving my body, but they’re also at least slightly social. Sure, there’s very minimal talking in yoga, but there’s a pleasure in the familiarity; I’ve already seen several folks I know from around the ‘plex, and this is both motivating and comforting.
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Have any of you tried yoga? If so, what kinds, and do you have any words of wisdom or encouragement for me? 😀
I agree with the instructor that some people are born more flexy than others, but I think it’s great that you are sticking with it. And, as I said on Friendfeed, I think that no matter what your current state of fitness and/or flexibility is, yoga is not an easy thing to get your body accustomed to. Phew. I know! 🙂
I’ve been doing yoga on and off since the age of 16. I’ve recently decided I want to eventually teach, so I have been taking classes about 3 times a week. I’ve done lots of different styles, currently I do Ashtanga and Yin yoga.
Best tip I can give you is – don’t look at other people. Iyengar is one of those funny ones like Ashtanga that can be somewhat predisposed to allowing you to get caught up in trying to achieve. The point of yoga is generally to simply be. Iyengar yoga puts a lot of emphasis on achieving correct alignment which is good if you’re starting out and have a good teacher, because it means you will get the correct forms into your muscle memory, rather than develop bad habits. It sounds like your teacher is good and isn’t trying to make you feel like you have to be good at everything immediately, so the best thing you can do is accept where you are at this point and work with what you have. Every time you do it, you will get better, but it might take longer than you’d like to get as far as you want to go. Another thing worth noting is that while your body might not allow you to do some things as well as others because of its particular shape or quirks, every person also has things they can naturally do that other people simply can’t. Some people can do the lotus naturally, whereas I find it insanely difficult (and often impossible) to do, even after years of practice. On the other hand, I can squat with my heels on the ground and always could and some of my yoga teachers can’t and never will.
So really what I’m saying it, close your eyes, ignore everyone else and enjoy the process of getting to know your body (and your mind)better 🙂
I have always wanted to try Yoga. As a young woman I was very much into aerobics and weight training but as the years go by so quickly, I am thinking about joining a Yoga class. After reading your experience though, I might have to think a little longer and see if they have a class for before beginner. :-O Hang in there and I’ll let you know if I find a class I can ‘hang’ with.
I would suggest WATER!! LOL… Yoga is a great flexability inducer, but it also releases crap and water helps flush it out… lowers the amount of soreness too… hope you’re enjoying it!
Fanny… good luck on finding a great class for you :-D. Definitely worth checking classes out!
And Cathy, yep, water is important in a lot of contexts… exercise, massages, staying awake when tired, etc. Good advice!
I’ve tried yoga lessons many times. I always promise myself that “now it’s for real, that I’ll not quit after two weeks, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla”. So far, not so good, but it’s still a life plan!
Yoga truly give you a new life. Just try yoga you will realize changes in your life.
I’ve wanted to try yoga for years, but I spend all my money on ballet (which is also very good at finding muscles you never knew you had).