Yoga Is Not For Sissies

20 09 2010

In the past year I’ve been to yoga at 24 Hour Fitness a handful of times, including this morning.  Each time I go I discover anew that yoga is not easy.  I would be interested in hearing from my readers about their yoga experiences.  Is it as challenging for you guys as it is for me?  Maybe I’m just getting old and weak.

I find it slightly disconcerting although unsurprising that I am one of about three guys in a class of twenty.  The other class members seem to range in age from early 20s to 40s and 50s and are typically quite lean.  I probably outweigh most of the people by 80 pounds.  The instructor is an African American man named Tabu whose muscles are so well-defined they could have been carved that way.  Tabu puts on some new age-y music and we begin.

After about 25 minutes, I’m breathing heavily and I’m starting to sweat.  I look around to see if I’m the only one and, sure enough, I am.  Not even the 50 year olds are showing signs of slowing.  After 45 minutes, there is literally a pool of sweat around my yoga mat and all of my muscles are shaking.  I am utterly incredulous when Tabu commands us to “sit a little lower” or “hold that pose a little longer.”  By this point, there are some other heavy-breathers and sweaters but I’ve still got a good lead on them.  I take some consolation in the guy to my side who laughs quietly to himself as he tries, with moderate success, to hold some of Tabu’s ludicrous poses.  Maybe I only think they’re ludicrous because I’m totally spent.

I watch in disbelief as the 100 pound waif beside me eagerly increases the difficulty of her pose when Tabu says, “If you’re body is asking for more, give it more by doing this…”  The last ten minutes I spend mopping sweat off my face and hands while attempting the cool down exercises.  I still end up mostly just standing or sitting.  I feel complete relief when we utter our final ‘namaste’ and I can relax.

I scan the room.  The 50 year olds and the guys are showing some fatigue and sweat.  Most of the people younger than 40 look about the same as when they started.  I still can’t believe how easy they made it all look.  I hobble over to put my mat away and then I grab the mop to clean up the small pond I left behind.  As I walk out of class on wobbly legs and drenched in sweat I think to myself, “Yoga is NOT for sissies.”

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3 responses

21 09 2010
Barbara

Hey, Peter,
I have done yoga for the past two years. When I first started, I wondered if I was ever going to be able to do any of the poses and hold them longer than 5 seconds. I can now say that I can hold them longer and feel stronger and love doing the yoga I do. If I keep on top of it and do it every day, then I can practically fold myself in half. For the most part, I just concentrate on how good it feels to do the yoga and not necessarily how long I can hold the pose or what I really look like while doing it. I just enjoy it. You are right though, “Yoga is not for sissies!”
Glad to know you are doing it though. Love you. Mom

21 09 2010
Maren

I’m with you Peter, it’s a real challenge for me! People talk about how relaxed they feel after, I do not come out of that room feeling relaxed! I don’t practice enough to feel good at it. I’m not flexible, never have been, never will be. I believe it’s a great thing, and respect those that love it. I try to do it every so often. I’ll just stick with Kick Boxing!

27 09 2010
Alycia

funny… i just posted about yoga! I hadn’t even seen this yet… haha I feel you! It is not easy, but I think it is easier initially for us little girls!

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