October 4, 2016

Timber! Confessions of a Falling Yoga Student.

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Every morning, before I lace up my running shoes, I follow a strict stretching regime in an attempt to get the kinks out before I begin my sanity miles for the day.

Unfortunately, during this process I have discovered a large amount of soreness and stiffness in my joints, which cause abnormal amounts of grunts and groaning.

A few years ago, my sister asked me to try a yoga session with her, telling me that it would help strengthen my core muscles for running. Because I’m constantly sore, I agreed to trying this activity, thinking that it would be easy and relaxing. Wrong.

That morning, I learned a life lesson: yoga is no joke. If you think you are athletic and seem to be in good shape, try a yoga session. Yoga will put you in your place instantly. I now have a brand new appreciation for those women who I see holding difficult poses, and I also now understand why those same few women have tremendous muscles.

My sister is a personal trainer. She runs, but she also participates in dozens of other physical activities, keeping her entire body in excellent condition. Lucky for me, our yoga session was with a video tape in my living room and not in a gym setting where others were present, as it was ugly.

The 90-minute session contained a series of downward dogs, salutes to the sun and several other poses that I’ve never heard of. It ended with something that I would never attempt—a balancing pose supported only by your hands, and my sister accomplished it. She looked graceful and muscular, where I resembled something like a tree in the forest crashing to the ground.

I ended up sweating more than I do during a two-hour run, and the next day left me completely sore and basically unable to move. My body ached from my head to my toes and everything in between. Obviously running is an excellent source of exercise, but only works a certain set of muscles, whereas yoga seemed to not only work on my core, but also every inch in between.

Because I’m not a quitter, I agreed to do yoga with my sister again the following week, once my muscles had actually started to not quiver constantly. Why not put myself through the torture once again? I could tell that it really worked from my soreness.

I’d like to report that my second yoga session was more successful…but I can’t. We followed the same video, so I did know what my body was going to endure this time, but I was still stiff and have to admit that I still fell out of my poses several times. Although the soreness was less severe after this workout, it was still not pretty.

My sister added yoga classes at her gym, but I didn’t sign up for any. I’m glad that I tried yoga—it’s given me a real appreciation for those who do it daily—but I’ve learned that it’s not for me. I think we held two or three additional yoga sessions at my house before I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to try something else—but I do have to admit that my body did start to gain some strength from it, and before I stopped, I was able to finally hold several of the easier poses.

Now, before I run (and on my rest days), I do my own series of core-work exercises, which have really seemed to help. I’ve gained strength in my lower back and abdomen, two important areas to help balance when running.

My point is that we should all try different forms exercising. Some people aren’t built for running. Some people love to power-walk, while others enjoy biking or hiking through trails and mountains. I attempted yoga, thinking that it would help me relax and build strength, but I found that it wasn’t quite the right match for me.

Just remember to mix up your routine, so that you’re not just using one set of muscles. Doing this will help you work your entire body, keeping every area in better shape.

And hats off to those yoga enthusiasts—I salute you! I admire how majestic you look holding poses with those determined and focused looks on your faces. I will stay at home for my core-work, so as to not ruin your concentration in class with my crashing to the ground and giggling.

We should all find our perfect outlet. There is an exercise for everyone—sometimes it just takes a few sessions to find our perfect match.


Author: Jill Carr

Image: Instagram @jonnemei

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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