I have been meaning to give yoga and pilates a try for quite some time. The problem is I have never been very fond of group fitness classes, and there were always other workouts to be done. That is until my trip to the chiropractor two weeks ago. Besides the IT band problem that I knew about, it turns out the muscles in my legs were so tight that I needed to essentially tear them to get them to stretch back out. This meant that I was limited to yoga, pilates, swimming, walking, or upper body strength training. If there was ever a time to try yoga or pilates, this was it! I had two sessions tentatively scheduled in my planner last week and didn’t make it to either of them. I really didn’t want to go today, but I knew that I needed to start the week off right and get back on track with my workouts.
I got there early to get a spot in the back of the room. Since I was a newbie I certainly didn’t want anyone watching me. Of course, I ended up right next to a svelte, muscle-toned woman who was a pro when it came to yoga! Turned out that she could care less what I was doing, and it was kind of nice to be next to her to see how the poses were “really” supposed to be done!!
As the class is about to being the instructor tells us that it is going to get a little warmer in the room (I thought HOT yoga was last week!). This didn’t bode well for me as I was in long sleeves…and yes, I was dripping sweat after 15 minutes. What was most embarrassing was the only other person I saw sweating was the only male in the room. This was a Vinyasa style yoga…doesn’t mean much to me, but for those who practice I am sure it does. I think one of the biggest things was the focus on breathing. Apparently, throughout the entire class you are supposed to be breathing in and out solely out of your nose. That did not happen. She would tell us to deeply inhale….then deeply exhale. By the time she told us to exhale, I think I had probably inhaled and exhaled at least five times…through my mouth!!
This was definitely way more than I bargained for, and definitely more intense than I thought it would be. Yoga requires a good deal of balance which is something I don’t have, and being 65 pounds overweight doesn’t help any. After 15 minutes, I was ready to pick up my mat and go. I felt like it was too hard, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I couldn’t keep up. As much as I wanted out of that room, I new if I left I’d be a quitter. I told myself that even if I never came back to this class I needed to stick it out this one time. Then I made it to 30 minutes, and again I just wanted to leave. I was profusely sweating, since I refused to go barefoot my shoes were ripping shreds out of my yoga mat, I couldn’t keep up, and truthfully I was tired of hearing it was time to return to downward dog. But I was halfway there and I refused to be a quitter. It was after this point that the flow slowed down a bit, and we started doing some stretches that I liked (note: that doesn’t mean I could do them all that well.)
I made it through the whole hour. It wasn’t pretty. I’m sure my form was terrible. I took breaks that others didn’t take. But I FINISHED. I honestly think that was one of the hardest things I have done. It certainly felt more difficult than a half-marathon, and it only took a third of the time.
I think part of the reason that it seemed so hard is that it was my first time. I prepared for my half-marathons. There was no preparation for this. It made me realize that I am not as strong or as flexible as I thought I was.
I’m glad that I stayed, because my body needs yoga. I think it is going to work wonders for opening up my hips and increasing my range of motion. It is going to help stretch, strengthen, and lengthen my muscles. And for that one hour a week it is going to bring me a calm and peace that I don’t otherwise have. I’m glad it is on a Sunday evening as it will be a great start to my week.
After the class I spoke to the instructor and all of my concerns were valid concerns of a new comer. After I explained to her the issues (IT band/tight muscles) she told me this was the best yoga class of the ones offered, especially because of the slightly heated room. She told me in time when my body gets used to what I am doing my breathing will slow down, and I will eventually feel like I know what I am doing.
I definitely felt relaxed and serene when the class ended. I will try again next week. Before then I think I will purchase some yoga socks so I don’t continue to rip apart my mat with my shoes, and I will definitely dress more appropriate for the temperature. Next week probably won’t be very pretty either, and I am sure at some point I will want to quit. I imagine that just like running, every time you do it, it will get a little easier.