I am, admittedly, no yoga pro. I can pretty honestly state that I am at close to the best fitness I have been in my entire life, I may have been slightly faster, or slightly stronger at some point, but the "total package" of fitness right now is pretty much the best I have ever had. I pretty much on every day feel like an aerobic machine that runs on endless energy. And it is pretty awesome, I can't lie!
But put me in a yoga class, and whoa! Bring on the sweat fest, and a good dose of humility! Mine is a body that likes to be in motion, though reasonably flexible and reasonably strong I am no master of Chaturangas, balance, or inversion.
I eased into yoga with Buck Harris and his low key Thursday night classes a few years ago with my buddy Jen. These classes were just the right dose of flexibility, camaraderie, and focus that this runner needed with a healthy dose of light hearted humor at ones own expense.
Along the way running became the sole focus and I drifted from this class as my buddy had more family duties and I had tempos to do on Thursday nights. But given my recent foot issues which I am 95% confident stem from my damn left calf being like a rock half the time I knew it was time to get back to yoga! The flexibility is much needed in order to hammer away on the pavement, and mentally I definitely could use 60-75 minutes a week where my mind is quiet.
As finances are tight it made sense to try and go to the free classes offered at my local gym. They offer 4 or 5 different types of classes at various difficulties and I have tried a few over the past 6 months or so that I have been at the gym. The class is typically packed in like sardines, which isn't great, but I always leave feeling better. And on occasion the classes are pretty humorous, though I try to keep my amusement and laughter on the inside.
A few class occurrences so far are blog worthy. My first or second class at the gym I struggled to hold in my chuckles as the background music changed to a cover of Marvin Gayes "Lets Get it On" and I looked around to see the instructor with an extremely serene smile on her face adjusting someone in down dog position. Later in the same class the hip opener discussion was one that talked about loving all those around us, how we needed to send more love into the universe, and be less afraid of loving each other, our neighbors in class, etc. If we were less afraid of loving each other our practice could be improved, we wouldn't be scared of really going for it, scared of accidentally spilling over to our classmates mats. I about died right there I cannot lie.
A few weeks ago I arrived late for a Vinyasa 3 class which is the most difficult they offer. I somehow got the time mixed up and felt awful about it post class. I had run a hard long run that morning and this class kicked my ass despite missing the first 15 minutes! The guy next to me was sweating Everywhere! We are talking a pool of sweat creeping ever so slowly over to my mat. I am no prude, I was unabashedly sweating too, but was keeping it to my own mat through use of my technical top when the guy went to the front of the room and retrieved a towel for me. Again I about died. And after the class he asked me about my shirt which was some sort of race shirt and he said he could tell I was obviously not a regular yoga person as my muscles looked like a tight runners muscles. Oh Boy :)
A particularly comical Vinyasa 2 class had two gentleman who were very clearly putting a lot of effort into their practice that night. I could tell because each held plank pose or particularly difficult maneuver resulted in what basically amounted to the loudest grunting contest. It is already a bit awkward getting all sweaty and bending all around in a class packed literally to the max, but add in two men grunting like they are in a porno and I have a very hard time keeping my laughter inside. But I must have been feeling particularly zen that night as despite the very obvious distraction I really was pretty focused on myself and not bothered by the obnoxiousness of it, and felt only slightly amused. But during a particularly difficult set of bridges/wheels the girl next to me completely lost her cool falling to the ground in exasperation and proclaiming "This is ridiculous, it is like the class is all about them or something." Which I found ironic since the instructor had previously made some statement about how our practice that evening should be all about what we individually needed. Again I did my best to keep from rolling on the ground in hysterics.
Last night I again had serene smiley instructor and wondered what sexually charged innuendos might be included in the class for my amusement. Surprise surprise to find myself the one being adjusted early in the class after being instructed to determine one thing that had made me happy during the day! We were saved from any Marvin Gaye last night and I actually liked the song we ended on during shavasana (below), but still was pretty amused by the class.
Throughout yoga one serious flaw in my body has become even more pronounced. My left hip is just not normal. I've always known something wasn't quite right with it, and have even lovingly nicknamed it my "wonky" left hip and describe it that way to all chiropractors, massage therapists, and ART gurus I have seen. For some reason there is a tendon in there that is tight like a steel pipe. Whenever doing anything lying on my back that involves leg lift type motion that tendon literally snaps loudly over my hip bone. It isn't particularly comfortable and sometimes feels like it is locking up, but as it never bothers me while running I kind of just deal with it. But last night I found myself increasingly irritated at my inability to do some simple moves because of this crazy hip. For some reason any time we try to "stack" our right hip over the left (as in from down dog position lifting your right leg in the air, bending the knee, and then tilting the hip backwards over your hip) my hip literally goes into severe cramp mode threatening to charlie horse. As someone who is accustomed to making her body do whatever she wants it to I can't lie, this drove me nutty! So mission figure out a solution begins after Philly!
Despite the trials with my left hip and my abundant sweating I felt fantastic after the class last night as I usually do. This morning my sides, arms, and glutes are sore, but man does everything else feel loose and ready to move! Yoga and all it's amusements is still getting two thumbs up from this girl who would usually prefer to be in motion!