Runners are frequently asked, “Do you actually enjoy running?” This is a question that I never really understood. Of course we love it! Why in the hell else would we sacrifice hours, money, and toenails for the sport? Well today I took my first yoga course and I left thinking, “Does anyone actually enjoy Yoga?”
I signed up for a summer gym pass and paid the extra $25 for access to all the fitness classes at the UW rec center, mostly so that I could do morning spin classes. During my undergrad at Mizzou I completely took for granted the gym pass included in my student fees and the great list of classes that were available. Determined not to make the same mistake twice, I’ve decided to try out a bunch of the different classes at UW this summer.
I want to try all of them this month for a few reasons, but mostly so I can avoid classes packed with 18 year olds during the “free week” where everyone tries out the gym, determined not to gain the Freshman 15. This way I can bumble my way through Zumba and Core Crunch, without feeling too ridiculous.
I jokingly blogged about becoming a yogi now that I’ve moved to Madison. Well, lo and behold, today I set off for sunrise Yoga prepared to have my life changed forever, as all those Yoga nuts proclaim. (I apologize for the sarcasm, but fitness freaks are cult-like in their devoutness. CrossFit fanatics, Marathon Maniacs – we’re all the same, we just have different addictions.)
Now let me first preface this by saying that it was a great experience and I will probably, albeit still reluctantly, be going back. So all this lamenting is really just that “I’m new, awkward, and have no idea what the hell I’m doing” phase.
The Powerflow course listing promised “45 minutes of a combination of Yoga and Pilates, with a fitness twist!” “Improve balance and increase joint flexibility!” When I read “Mats provided!” I was even ready to buy in for just two easy payments of $19.99.
The infomercial-esque claims were just that – loosely accurate but kind of a letdown. Refusing to buy into the Yoga culture just yet by buying my own mat (I’ve decided I need to go to at least 5 classes before making that investment) I showed up ready to borrow one of the gym mats. Apparently yogis are typically a max of 5’2″ because mine was heinously too short for me. Having my toes hang off during Downward Dog was just the first comical part of the experience though.
Now here is where my question for Yoga-lovers “Do you really enjoy it?” stems from. How does anyone actually achieve the airplane stance? I felt like a doomed 747, going into a nose dive.
Goddess was a pretty cool pose, but with all the mirrors I was worried I might turn into Medusa and scare myself to stone!
But, who can really complain too much when the class ends basically with a nap on the floor as you decompress. 45 minutes later, after more lunges than I’ve done in my life and secretly disguised planks, I will be the first to admit that Child’s Pose is one I can really rally behind.
The instructor was pretty great though. After class I asked her just what she meant every time she said, “Bring your belly button to your spine” – huh?! “So, do you just mean suck it in?” She chuckled and acknowledged that was the less whimsical way of saying it.
Now that I know some of the secret Yoga language I might feel a little more comfortable during round 2. I can just hope that during Triangle pose all of the other girls in the class were feeling equally as awkward and uncomfortable as I was.
Let’s see if after a few more sessions the claims of improved balance and increased joint flexibility are actualized. I can only hope so, otherwise we’re going to be a plane wreck every time!
- What were your first experiences with Yoga like?
- Does it get better?
- How long did it take before Yoga “clicked” for you and you stopped feeling ridiculous?