Yoga for the novice

12 11 2011

photo credit: Teecycle Tim

I have come lately to yoga.

I have always liked the idea of it – stretching, balancing, energy flows etc. But somehow in my busy lifestyle I have never quite had the time to do it.

I did try Wii-Fit Yoga once. I discovered that while I am unable to balance on one leg (either on or off the Wii-Fit board), I am the undisputed champion of sitting still. In a house full of children, no-one can plonk on their bottom and remain immobile like I can. Are we surprised?

Me sitting still does not look like this. photo credit: Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Anyway, a dear friend who is also a yoga instructor invited me to one of her beginner classes, and I happened to be free at the day and time, so I went along. I was thrilled to find a group of women who were of similar age to me, and older. Good start. I still have flashbacks to high-cut shiny lycra in the gyms of the late 1980s. And leg-warmers and sweat-bands. OMG – that was Olivia!

I was also thrilled to find that despite being more yoga-experience than me, no-one else was an expert or a bendy-flexible nymph. Accommodations were made for bad knees, bad shoulders, bad backs. And it has to be said, weak muscles (particularly upper-body strength – I am talking about me again here) and poor balance.

I quite enjoyed it. The fascinating thing I found was that some of the stretches were the same stretches my exercise physiologist had prescribed for me, and also very similar to Pilates stretches I remembered from a sadistic Pilates instructor from five years ago (still recovering from the experience!)

And I was good enough to go back two days later to the “slightly more advanced beginner class”.

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5 responses

12 11 2011
cristycoates

As a practitioner of yoga, I really think lots of people are tentative about giving yoga a go because of those stereotypical pretzel poses we tend to think about when the word ‘yoga’ comes up. I don’t think the yoga industry helps itself much of the time, advertising with very advanced poses most of us will never achieve (or even want to) and ultra-thin, scantily clad young women (which tends to bring body image into the equation, thinking yoga is just a workout, and can also bring sexual overtones to a practice which was generated by a very modest people).

What I love about the reality of this work is that it’s really about helping people find genuine health and well-being, and to connect with a broader reality, starting with the complex simplicity of ones own breath.

Funnily enough, when I am attending a class as a participant, people will tend to come up and tell me that I am ‘really good’ at yoga. Even after years of practice, many people think its all about flexibility. I kind of laugh internally. No one can really tell from the outside how well I’m accepting myself, working with my own body, my own breath, relaxing my tendency towards striving and effort, letting myself be soft, building strength. It’s such a personal thing.

I usually just reply that a good yoga practice means you’re accepting & working with your body as it presents itself during practice, and connecting with your breath.

And I love that more and more people (like yourself!) are getting that.

12 11 2011
Mudmap

Thanks Cristy!

26 11 2011
sweetopiagirl

Reblogged this on inspiredweightloss.

26 11 2011
Mudmap

thanks! Glad you liked it.

29 11 2011
Yoga – an update « Mud Map to Life in the Modern Age

[…] 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 […]

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