Thursday, May 06, 2010

Yoga - A Novice's Start

I'm a big believer in always trying to improve. It might be mental, physical or emotional improvement and progress. If we are always changing in life and the idea that no one steps into the same river twice is true, then why not work towards something better and change for the better. Feeling in a bit of a rut when it came to fitness and stress management, I decided to take my wife's advice on yago. Behind all the new age spritual BS you hear from your friends who rock yoga out, it truly is good for your mind and body.

Yoga truly does work the mind and body. If practiced steadily and integrated with other stress management and non-yoga concentration and meditation, I could see it causing true emotional change and better stress management. It is far more than just posing pretty on a beach with Yanni music in the background and the wind sweeping your hair back. Seriously, I can't go to the beach anymore without seeing some jerk doing the warrior pose. The poses create static tension that will stress the muscles, toning, firming & sculpting. Even if you do a lot of ab work, you will feel sore or tired the day after in your midsection, especially the stabilizing obliques. Yoga can keep the heartrate up for the session, so it can substitute if you do a normal cardio routine. With so many positions forcing you to keep your arms above you shoulders, you burn a lot more energy doing yoga. A big bonus to yoga is the cooldown relaxation period. It is meditation and relaxation to chill the body out from the stress of a session. This must be why after classes, I feel tired but really relaxed.

My legs are weak and my balance is below average, so it causes a lot of stress on my legs. I have seen improvement in the 3 weeks of going to class. I do find that odd muscles get sore. My neck, my upper back right along the shoulder blades, my obliques, weird places get sore. It's like swimming for the first time in months. You will feel things you haven't felt in a long while. The relaxation period is great as it unwinds the tension your muscles might be holding or the stress muscles might have. It's guided meditation, and if you have a Hindu friend, they've probably done the same for you while stoned. "The flowing light while enter the chakra and heal you". Usually by the end of the meditation, i'm pretty focused on losing sensation in my limbs becoming super still.

Here are some bits of advice:
1. Fire up the Wii Fit and do yoga on it. The Wii Fit can form a nice foundation for poses and get you familiar with body positioning, names of poses, and what muscle group will be affected by what pose.
2. Don't be afraid to look like an ass. Everyone does.
3. It might help to walk or use a stationary bike prior to class to warm up the body.
4. Don't compete with other people there for flexibility. Just work on getting the poses down and listening to the instructor.
5. Wear multiple layers so you can peel them off as you get warm.
6. Be prepared to see ugly feet.
7. If something hurts, don't push it.
8. Breathe deeply and enjoy yourself.
9. If the instructor gives you the chance to take a breather with a chill pose, take it. Don't push too hard too soon.
10. Eat something good after the class for energy/protein replacement.

Only a results oriented ENTJ would write something about yoga using numbered points.

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