The Yoga Experiment

I was told the more you went to yoga, the better you would feel, and the more addicted you would become. 

It was like a simple equation.  A direct relationship between an increase in classes and an increase in positive thoughts towards the practice.  Is that true?  I was skeptical of such logic, so I decided to conduct an experiment to find out.  For one week exactly, I took 5 yoga classes.  5 hot yoga classes in a mere 7 days. 

I thought I would try the hot yoga, and for once, not leave the class early, and dedicate myself to stay through 90 grueling minutes of stretching.  How hard could it be?  It didn’t involve cardio, or my aerobic system.  However, it involved my core, my flexibility and my patience. 

The days went on.  Did I feel more limber, or just less embarrassed by my lack of coordination?

Bendie Envy.  That’s the term my friend used to describe the feeling of trepidation before each yoga class.  The suspicious feeling regarding the yoga “teacher’s pets” and those who warm up doing head stands and can stretch their leg perfectly straight out in front of them holding their big toe with their “peace fingers”.  This feeling of insecurity was decreasing with each class attended.

Crow. Cat. Cow. Pidgeon. Animal names? Of course, but also a term for poses requiring strength and flexibility.  In yoga class, I could become a tree, a silver surfer, and or I could develop talons and get my “man on”.  My breathing can now become oceanic, rhythmic, or something like that.

I was inspired by the yoga classes as they highlighted my stiffness and imbalance.  I recruited a US National Team teammate and good friend to join me.  I figured with two professional cyclists in the class, the attention of the instructor would surely be divided.  It turned out, Kat, was actually much more talented than me in the yoga department, and I was still meticulously corrected.

7 days complete.

Am I sold on yoga?  I might be.  Not just any yoga.  I think I vote for vinyasa, or as the Red Dragon Yoga Studio in Mill Valley refers to their hot vinyasa class, “Power Yoga”.  We flow from one pose to the next and through the movements, there is less time to have a yoga Nazi pick on me for my form.  I try to blend in, sweat, and move freely.  I am challenged, but I am kept interested with few static poses, and the class is based on dynamic movements and upbeat music that doesn’t involve waterfalls or windchimes. 

5 days of yoga, and I am sore.  Does it make me better cyclist?  I hope so.  Do I intend to compete in the Olympics for yoga?  Thank heavens, no, but I think it will be a beneficial addition to my weeks of training when I am home.  5 days/week?  No.  I am crossing my fingers for 1 day/week.

There is some truth to the repetition of yoga to feel its energizing properties.  Addicted might be a strong word, but I at least can admit that I began ALMOST enjoying yoga.  Who would have thought it was ever possible.

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