I wrote recently about my experience as a novice in yoga. Unfortunately I have been a sporadic attendee for various reasons but managed to get there again a few times recently. I am still very much a beginner, but as well as the benefits of stretching and exercise, I am learning things about myself. What I am learning is….
1. I cannot coordinate breathing and movement. (and yes, I can walk and talk at the same time)
2. I have a two-second memory span for instructions such as “do this on the inhale and that on the exhale”. Two seconds later I can’t remember which one I do on inhale. I think this is because of the enormous concentration reserves required for me to coordinate breathing and movement (see point 1) Again, this is not what I am normally like, I hold down a good job and study at the tertiary level. Why can’t I remember when to breathe in?
3. Yoga people tend to be slim because otherwise your “extra tyre” gets in the way of bending. It is more than just flexibility.
4. Yoga is much more that the pretzel-like poses that are usually advertised (thank goodness). Halfway-getting the pose has benefits as well.
5. Some parts of yoga are very similar to pilates-type exercises. It is also similar to the stretches my Exercise Physiologist recommended, and I suspect there are elements of the Alexander technique as well. Very holistic.
6. A decent pedicure is very important…. or at least fresh toe-nail polish.
7. It’s actually not that easy to empty your mind and concentrate. Given some quiet time my brain tends to mull over issues….not focus. (see points one and two above)
8. Yoga is fun when you are doing it with other people of similar age and skill level (OK, I flatter myself, they are all more practiced than me, but we are still the beginners class).
9. Not being able to do things is not a problem when you can laugh. And this is a class with lots of laughter.
10. It is possible to fall asleep during certain exercises, particularly if you had a disturbed night’s sleep the night before. However, you may not be the only one. Try not to snore.
One final last thing – I suspect I am progenitor of the most ungainly sun salutation ever seen.
Clearly I need more practice!