I don’t love Yoga.
That’s not for lack of trying. I’ve been to a bunch of different classes with a bunch of different instructors but I have never made that connection with Yoga that so many people do. It’s not that I disagree with the principals or have a problem with the whole mind/body/spiritual connection thing…I just suck at it.
Yoga is a really deceptive art. Beginners’ class does not look like it should be as hard as it is but, those tiny controlled movements and deep stretches take more out of me in ten minutes than an hour of cardio-boxing. I suspect it has something to do with the atmosphere if not the actual exercise. Every Yoga studio I’ve ever been to is kept at about one hundred and twelve degrees, so right away you’re sweating like a politician at a polygraph. Add to that the plinky-plunky music, the soft lighting and the skinny hippie up at the front talking about becoming one with the light in you and the earth mother granola something or other, now wrap your leg around your head three times aaaand…breathe. What?
Well, it’s easy for the smartie in me to make fun, but that’s only because I can’t keep up. In all honesty, I have a tremendous respect for the discipline this stuff takes.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been going to a “Body Art” class at my gym. It’s a Yoga/Pilates kind of combo with a nice aerobic break in the middle, which really goes a long way for people like me. It’s resistance based aerobics so I’m still developing the muscles and flexibility I need to get better at this kind of stuff but a bit of jumping around really helps loosen things up so I can actually finish the forms by the end of the class. Consequently, I enjoy it a lot more and can actually sit still through the quiet-time cool down.
The quiet-time, (that’s what I call it, but I’m sure there’s a proper name for it in Yoga circles) is pretty unique to these kinds of classes and oddly effective. When you finish most other sessions, (aerobics, swimming, spinning, running whatever) you feel really pumped and energy loaded for a while. With the Yoga or Pilates classes you leave all mellow. Not ready-for-a-nap kind of mellow, but peaceful and clear headed. Makes for a great night sleep.