I am sitting in short shorts and am the only guy in a room full of beautiful women. Not a single one speaks english and the class I am about to take is entirely new material. I look around at all of the seasoned experts. (They are the ones who are warming up by putting their head on the ground and walking up the wall backwards). It is the fourth time this week that I have thought to myself, “how do I get myself into these situations?” This time I know the answer. I am here because I love yoga.
I first started yoga about 9 months ago. I was scanning my bucket list and thought that yoga (a bucket list item) would be a perfect addition to help balance out the Crossfit workouts I was doing. With Crossfit, I was burning a lot fat and building muscle but I could feel that I was losing flexibility. I was on the path to getting the body of a lego man. (Think about how they move.)
I went into work the next day and saw that they offered yoga classes in the floor below my office. The stage was set. I would be doing pyramid pose in no time.
My first class was with a group of co-workers. Nervously we filled the yoga studio. The instructor, April, explained that this type of Yoga, Slobody, was both more slow and more aerobic than traditional styles of yoga. She also explained that it was the same technique that the local S.W.A.T teamed used to train. (I thought back on the time I had met the bottom of the local S.W.A.T team’s boot with angst).
After a quick round of awkward stretching, April began to kick our asses. Slobody is slow in all of the hard ways (holding poses) and I quickly fell in love with it. Whereas, Crossfit is about fighting through your physical limit through strength training and endurance, Slobody is about increasing your flexibility without passing your limit (ouch) all while keeping your heart rate up. It was not spiritual in the traditional sense but it did help me become more in-tune with my body as I stretched into poses that I had literally never been in. In the process, I discovered muscles on my body that were completely new to me (seriously, I found something on the back of my leg below my thigh) and realized that I could leave a workout feeling refreshed and peaceful rather than exhausted and defeated.
After my first class, I made yoga a part of my weekly routine. Every Wednesday at 6:00 (or 5:30 on tough days) I would stop what I was doing and go down into the yoga studio. I made marked progress very quickly and decided to make yoga an important part of my life going forward.
9 months later, I am now a lot more flexible than I have ever been and feel a lot freer in my own body. I continue to do yoga as I travel and use it commonly as a way to stretch after long flights. (Happy Baby and Pigeon are miracle workers for fighting jet lag).
Yoga has improved my health, allowed me to meet new people and aided me in all of my physical fitness related bucket list items (I am talking to you marathon). What started as a convenient way to become more flexible has become the most far reaching of my bucket list items.
If you haven’t already tried yoga, I urge you to sign up for a free class. If your experience is anything like mine, it will change your life.