Bloke Begins Yoga
I’ve never been the most flexible of people. I think I last touched my toes around the age of 14, 29 years ago. 23 years in a job that primarily involves driving a desk hasn’t helped either. Then 5 years of long distance cycling added on to the mix gives me hamstrings that are so tight a harpist could pluck out a tune. Mix that with a inflexible lower back and core muscles that are under developed and I’m not winning any awards
I’ve tried stretching after runs, and I’ve embarrassed myself rolling around on the floor like a dead bug flailing various arms and legs but none of that seems much fun or useful.
How about Yoga?
Mrs BeestonRunner likes her yoga. She’s done classes in the past and can now follow along on YouTube with no problems. I’ve tried to follow along, but between having the balance of a drunk 1 legged elephant and the flexibility of a plank I just can’t cope with trying to stare at a small screen at the same time.
So that left the option of going to an actual class…….
I think it’s fair to say that Yoga classes have a certain stereotype from the outside. I was envisioning a pretty much 100% female environment of people able to do things like this:
And looking serene and controlled into the bargain. This isn’t helped by the fact that to keep cost to a minimum I was going to be using work’s gym classes. Work is an education establishment, so the core attendee demographic is less than half my age, in fact I’ve worked there since before a lot of them were born. So I was going to stand out even more
I would post a picture here of how I felt I’d look like but google images can’t find anything for ‘sweaty scared hairy man trying to avoid eye contact whilst failing to do yoga’ which is probably just as well
I managed to get the courage up to book a session. Turned up in what I had, running shorts and a helly top. Things I learnt:
- It’s a lot easier to follow along with someone who’s more than 13″ tall
- You concentrate a lot harder when there’s no pause or rewind available
- The concentration means you forget who’s around you
- Thank god for running shorts with lycra innards, stops things falling out when in Downward Dog
- Helly tops slide down a lot, tuck it in
- You sweat a lot, and your hands get slippy
- Just because someone’s young doesn’t mean they’re more flexible than you
- Eating a lentil based lunch before hand adds some internal pressure to the situation I could have done without
- A few corrective comments/prodding from an instructor suddenly makes some things easier
- There’s usually an easy pose variation to work towards the harder version
- Everyone grunts and pants
Well, it turned out I had nothing to worry about ? and I’ve taken it to a duck like water, and try to get at least 2 classes a week in
I’ve tuned some bits up with a top that doesn’t slide around so much, and not eating lunch so close to a class has reduced the ‘pressure’ nicely.
Things are slowly improving. And I’m learning what improving actually means. So my Downward Dog doesn’t involve heels on the floor, but I’m more comfortable holding the pose as I build strength in my shoulders. Transitions are getting better, biggest thing I learnt was than moving from plank to cobra to downward dog is that hand and feet shouldn’t move, this has made it much easier to flow along with the class
Still can’t get into videos at home though, something else to work on there.