I’m now 16 weeks into consistent Yoga practice (once per week, without miss), and I’m hooked. Shout out to One Love Yoga in Kent, Ohio.
Here’s are some thoughts and things I’ve learned in that period:
I love the challenge. I got my ass handed to me today. I was drenched in sweat (and the heat wasn’t turned on) and I kept falling out of poses (Crescent Lunge Twist can kiss my ass). And I love that shit.
I’m better at it than I thought I would be. I always thought Yoga was all about the stretching. And it is. But you need to be strong too. I like to think I’m pretty strong and have pretty decent muscular endurance. For those reasons, and because I have a pretty keen awareness of whats going on with my body, I did pretty good from the start.
Don’t get me wrong, the flexibility thing is a problem. My hamstrings and hip-flexors are an issue that need to be addressed, like now. It helps that I have a good teacher that isn’t afraid to correct me when my alignment is off.
It’s imperative to not miss a practice. I’ve been going on either Wednesday or Friday and when I know I’ll miss one of those days, I’m looking ahead to the weekend schedule so I can be sure to get it in. With a baby on the way, that’s gonna change. But I’ll adapt.
My body feels incredible. I find myself sitting Indian style (is that still a thing? I feel like that and crisscross applesauce are equally embarrassing to say). Anyway, that’s how I’m sitting right now as I write this. I even find myself laying like that in bed. Honestly, I don’t think I would have been able to comfortably sit like that 4 months ago.
It’s funny; I was always the least flexible kid ever. Like, negative readings on the sit-and-reach. And I’ve also always had knee pain, so to be able to sit comfortably like this is a big thing for me.
Oh, and that knee pain I speak of? Fucking gone. And the nagging back injuries? Basically gone (I say basically because I’m a meathead and still decide to injure myself here and there).
Anxiety? Pretty much gone. Sleep? All of it. Muscles? Bigger.
The last one is key. Aesthetically, I’m in the best shape of my life. Yoga has made my legs look more jacked than ever and I actually see more definition in my chest. Not sure if that one is related but I wouldn’t doubt it. I know that’s usually more of a function of diet than anything, but this is different.
In fact, Arnold Schwarzenegger used to stretch and flex in between sets because he believed it forced a greater response in the tearing down of his muscles during a training session (all the blood flow). He also thought he could effectively expand his rib cage by doing dumbbell pullovers, which is basically a weighted stretch.
I’m meditating more. I find that I have a much improved mind body connection. I’m able to effectively relax my muscles. Which, as mentioned above and in previous posts, has improved my sleep.
I fucking hate Triangle pose. Hate it. I’m not a big fan of the feeling I get when my knee locks out.
I love Pigeon. Really, I love hip-openers in general. And balance poses are my shit.
I’d love to teach one day. I still have a looong way to go before I can start thinking about something like that. I know that there will always be room for improvement, but I feel like I need to practice consistently for a year or two before I can consider myself worthy of teaching to other Yogi’s. Not to mention, once per week is nothing. The important thing here is that I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
I’m still a beginner. And likely will be for a long, long time. And that’s okay. Though, every once in a while there will be someone in class who I notice is watching me for cues, or that looks even more raw than than I am, and that feels good.
I don’t plan on expanding my practice to multiple days per week. I still love lifting a few days per week. Right now I’m weight training three days per week and doing yoga once. But I do go through a quick stretching routine on a daily basis. And yes, the routine has been strongly influenced by my Yoga practice. I even throw in Pigeon a few times a week.
That feeling when you open your eyes after Savasana. It’s one of the best feelings in the world; I suggest you get some.