Feeling very tense and inflexible lately, I decided to go to a yoga class to loosen up. I’ve done yoga once before but it was a while ago so I didn’t really have any expectations going in.
Okay, that was a lie…I expected the class to be easy. I mean, it’s yoga, not bootcamp right? Naturally, I was wrong! The class kicked my butt! Not only am I outta shape for triathlon but I’m also apparently outta shape for yoga. I had no idea how hard it was going to be to “stretch” for an hour.
To my credit…this class was more than yoga. It was more of a core-building yoga, which was great because there’s nothing I love more than a great core workout. To yoga’s credit…yoga is an extremely challenging, albeit relaxing, total-body workout. The best part is that you don’t even feel like you’re working out. Yes, the poses are difficult (especially being new, the stretches hurt like no other, and you definitely feel the burn, but it’s still soothing and you walk out feeling great!
In this particular class, since I was new, the instructor singled me out and helped me with my poses. Even when I thought there was no wrong way to do a plank…there was! At one point the she even said “Okay, we’ll work on that later.” What could I possibly have been doing that was so wrong? My back wasn’t straight enough…probably because I’m nearly 6 feet tall and am trying to contort my lanky body into crazy positions!
Downward-facing dog and child’s pose were quite easy for me though, so I get points for that.
I did come to the realization that I am not as good at balancing as I thought I was. Yoga makes you squeeze every muscle in your body, especially your core, to help you balance. Once I got that down, I did see the improvement and I’m looking forward to seeing my balancing get easier as I continue going to this class.
Near the end of class is where the real stretching came into play. We had to wrap a towel around one ankle and then pull it and stretch it in all different positions. I thought I was getting a good stretch until the instructor came along and then….OUCH! That was a stretch! The more painful the stretch, the better you feel afterwards so I didn’t wimp out. I took the pain as she pushed my legs in opposite directions, the agony showing all over my face! It’s always worth it in the end.
Now my legs feel as good as new! Eh, well not quite new I suppose, but getting there!
Remember that you can’t just workout and train for a triathlon and not stretch out your muscles. That’s how injuries happen. I am going to start attending yoga class every Monday night because I know how important it is, not only for my triathlon improvements, but also for my health. I encourage all my readers to do the same (even if you’re not working out, you can always do yoga). Just don’t go into your first class thinking it’ll be a walk in the park….it ain’t!
Don’t worry if you don’t have yoga at your gym, there are tons of other stretches you can do on your own. (Check out the chart of yoga poses below). But stretching is important, so don’t forget to do it daily!
I just know that as soon as summer rolls around and I start getting my beach runs in, you’ll see me doing yoga right there in the sand!
In a few weeks I might even be able to touch my toes!
Practice these yoga poses to get started!