Bend and Stretch

Yoga pose - not me!Yesterday I tried yoga for the first time in my life. It was hot yoga, in a room heated to 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Firstly, true to the session title, it was hot! During the session we were given suitable instructions like “now into a cross-legged position, wipe the sweat off your face, close your eyes…” It was a little amusing from that perspective.

The yoga itself was taxing, and I will qualify this. The stretching felt a little unnatural, and that is probably because we don’t stretch our bodies as part of our daily lives any more (or I certainly don’t). Where once I had been told that I was flexible as a younger girl, that was back when I spent hours balancing on my shoulders and neck. Now I spend most of my time in a chair behind a desk, and stretching is not something I have done regularly.

I also found that I had to spend a lot of time interpreting instructions. Despite the fact that all four walls in the studio were glass, some of the positions prevented me from seeing the instructor in any reflection. Fortunately, she was very clear, and for the most part I got there eventually. It must have been quite amusing, however, when, in those few moments where I was truly lost, I would look up for a quick visual check, the movement of my head would throw off the delicate balance I had thusfar achieved, and I would end up on my butt!

I felt those moments intensely, as being a white woman with broad shoulders and a bit of height (when compared to my Singaporean contemporaries), the old adage that ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’ certainly rang true in my ears (and echoed around the room with a thump and an ‘ugh’).

To be very honest, when the girl next to me, a full foot shorter and 15 kilos (33 lbs) lighter, thumped on the mat next to me with a similar lack of grace, I felt a little bit better, and we shared an empathic smile.

Now this may sound like I didn’t get much out of my first yoga experience, however I must tell you, dear reader, that I found that it lived up to everything I had been told about this ancient art.

  • I was certainly on my way to achieving a delicate (or perhaps not-so-delicate) balance of mind and body
  • For an exercise session where I spent half the time on the mat lying down (or on my butt), I sure am sore today!
  • I slept well
  • I enjoyed it once I learned to live with the fact that I am not as graceful as I thought
  • My back doesn’t hurt as much this morning (slipped disk – past injury)

It is something that I think I want to pursue, and while I really loved the professionalism of the yoga studio that I trialled with, my work life and tendency to do this sort of thing in fits and starts made the package they offered a tad pricey for me. If I had the cash to spare I certainly would sign up in a heartbeat. On writing this, I ask myself ‘what is the price of health,’ however a good walk would probably also bode me well and I just need to get motivated and go!

Comment posted by Deborah Gamble
at 6/24/2007 12:18:36 AM

I used to take a late evening yoga class and I loved it! And you are right you do sleep better. Now that I have read your blog, I miss that class.

Comment posted by Tammy
at 6/24/2007 6:38:09 PM

I love Hot Yoga! We have it here on Samui, and I’ve been going since December, although now my favourite class is Flow. I can now stretch my body in ways only possible when I was a 7yo. I wish I’d kept up those handstands & cartwheels from days goneby. :roll:

Comment posted by ozlady
at 6/24/2007 9:12:07 PM

Deborah,

It’s time to re-enrol. I know that I was putting it off because I didn’t have time, but then I realised it’s up to me to make time for myself… so I’ve been doing some of that lately.

Enjoy and get flexible!

Comment posted by ozlady
at 6/25/2007 12:24:00 AM

Tammy… I have no idea what flow is, but I was recommended Yoga for my slipped disk, and it seems to be working… I have been practicing some of the moves every day and the pain is less. Perhaps if I’d kept up the headstands as well… *sigh*

Comment posted by ozlady
at 6/27/2007 3:52:32 AM

Update: still stretching daily and back pain is reduced to an occasional twinge!

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