I first tried yoga back in the late 90s. The all women’s gym my roommate and I went to offered free classes with our membership so we figured why not. We giggled our way through that first class and strained to be even the slightest bit flexible. It was difficult but I loved it. And my body loved it too! At the end of each class, we lay on the floor, relaxing, calming our minds and bodies. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I came darned close to falling asleep each and every time. And I wasn’t the only one. I remember hearing a woman snoring at the end of one of the classes.
Pretty soon, the popularity of yoga exploded and we had trouble finding room on the floor to throw down our mats so we stopped going. I bought a couple of VHS tapes but didn’t keep up with them regularly. There was something about taking part in the class and feeling encouraged and challenged by those around me that you just don’t get from a tape/DVD. I quickly lost interest. Every couple of years, I’d get the urge to try again and I’d buy a new DVD, use it a couple of times and then stuff it on the shelf to collect dust bunnies. And then two years ago, I finally decided to join a class again.
|Nirvana by Herodoto (Flickr)|
There’s a yoga studio just up the hill from my house and offered classes on the weekend. I was desperate for some new activity to add to my treadmill/stationary bike/elliptical routine at the time so I signed up. I didn’t know the difference between the different types of yoga other than there’s now “hot yoga” which seemed a bit extreme. I took the suggestion of the lady who answered my email and registered for Ashtanga Yoga. Wrong class. It was too tough, I certainly wasn’t limber enough, and despite being very proud of myself after the first class, I fell far behind the other people quickly and gave up after three classes.
So, I decided to do something about it. Not wanting to waste my money on another class I won’t complete, I found myself a copy of Rodney Yee’s AM/PM Yoga. This was the first yoga tape I had ever purchased so I knew already what I was getting into. I remember enjoying the short 20 minute morning video and figured this would be perfect for stretching out some of my muscles and getting things going first thing in the morning. Plus, its only 20 minutes. Who can’t spare 20 minutes? I whipped out my yoga mat, shook off the inch of dust that had accumulated and unrolled it on the floor.
|Halasana by Gosia Janik (Flickr)|
It’s now five hours later and my legs feel pretty darned good (I made sure to only stretch as far as I could without causing agonizing pain). Definitely more relaxed than they were when I woke up this morning. Sure, they’re not loose and limber but I made a start. I’m going to run/walk tonight after work and it’s my hope that the looser my muscles become with the yoga, the more improvement I’ll see in my attempts to run. Heck, even if I just continue to walk, this is going to be a big help. The almost instant results I feel after just those measly 20 minutes made me feel great overall. I was sweating, my heart rate was up, and I could feel the tension and knots untwisting with each passing minute.