So, last night I attended my first Yoga class. I was a good boy and talked to the instructor before class, and also set up my mat front and center right next to her. I was the only man in the room, which didn’t surprise me in the least. My running friends swear by yoga and so I wanted to give it a try. For those that follow yoga I’m going to describe what we did, forgive me if I mess up or don’t remember the names. I didn’t catch everything.
We started with some sitting stretches, sitting cross-legged and turning our shoulders to one side and then the other. Reminded me of the stretches we used to do in marching band. Then we got on our hands and knees to stretch our backs. We alternated between back bowed up, head down (cat, I think) and head back, belly down, back bowed the other way (Cow pose). So far so good.
Next came some standing poses. Didn’t have too much problem with these. Right off the bat we get into one Amanda showed me, Warrior 2. This ones not bad, but the deeper you take the leg bend it will burn more. Did that to the left and right. Next was triangle pose.. another simple one, left and right again. Then we did a sequence of poses linked together. Warrior 2 into Triangle into a pose with bent knee, arm on the knee and upper body leaned down (missed the name, side stretch? side triangle?) and then arch the back the opposite way and raise the arm into the air into a Reverse Warrior.
Now things started to get a little interesting. The instructor said she wanted to get some heat in the room (and she wasn’t lying). We started a series of Sun Salutations (from the video I watched this was a variant of SS 1). We did this three or four times in the following sequence. Front fold down.. step back into Down Dog, down to Kneeling Plank down to flat on your belly, and then back arched into Cobra then push back up into Down Dog, and then walk forward back into Front Fold.. Rise up, arms up and then down to Heart Center. It was like the up downs you see football players doing (standing to push ups back to standing) only slower and with some other stuff in between. I was sweating at this point. Heat into the room indeed.
Next came the part that really sucked, and the only part I had to skip some. We started a series of poses and moves that started from hands and knees that I have no idea what the names were. My knees started hurting really bad (by the time the instructor mentioned doubling up the mat it was too late.) and when she got to the pose that was one arm up and one leg up.. I couldn’t lift my leg. After trying valiantly I stopped and sat down cross-legged and tried to catch my breath. (The instructor quietly asked me if I was OK and I said yes but that my knees were hurting too bad to continue).
After that we got into Child’s pose and took a breather for a little while (i couldn’t remember this pose when i needed to “tap-out” earlier, but now I know). Then we stood up and did some hamstring stretches.. these didn’t have a name other than hamstring stretch, but it was one foot forward, one foot back then hands clasped behind the back and lean down over the front leg. I won’t lie.. this hurt.. bad… but it showed me how important it is to stretch your hamstrings. (And I’m starting to understand why my running friends do yoga).
Thing’s were starting to wrap up now, so we are in the home stretch. We sat down and did some leg stretches, one leg extended, the other tucked in, and then leaned down over the extended leg. She jokingly called this Nose to Knee pose (yeah right, not this fat boy). Then we rolled onto our backs and stretched our leg up into the air with a strap over the foot to push against. Did this for both legs.
Then it was…. relaxation time… flat on your back, arms out to the side, eyes closed. Laid there for a couple minutes while the instructor talked about crashing waves on the beach. Then back up to a seated pose, hands to Heart Center and bow to each other and the class was over.
The instructor looked at me and quietly said.. “You survived!”…. Not sure if that’s encouraging or not. We talked briefly as people were packing up and she said I did great for a first timer and had surprisingly good flexibility for a guy my size (I felt like I could barely get into the poses, but I guess it wasn’t as bad as I thought). At least that was enough to get me thinking about going back a second time. I think I will try it again. I don’t feel as though I made an ass of myself and I was only slightly self-conscious about being the only guy in the room.
And so thus was my introduction to Yoga.