Friday, February 15, 2013

Yoga sucks. Sign me up!

So today I moseyed to my fifth attempt at yoga.  I have been trying Vinyasa yoga. I think. Except for the one time I did Bikram.

My conclusion is that yoga is very f'ing hard for me. This comes as natural to me as resting my knees on my elbows and trying to lift my feet in the ground to the left (or right) while breathing - I know. They wanted me to try to do that. Everyone else in the class could. Not me. Insane. Right?

You want me to do what?
The story usually goes like this:

I promptly let the instructor know that I'm a runner with tight hamstrings and a beginner. This is always a good/bad move - good because the expectation of my ability has been lowered, bad because I usually become the pet project of the class causing me further pose anxiety. Still. That is better than not giving an explanation of my limited abilities.

Then I peel my socks off and note my busted runner's feet and curse myself for being too lazy to get a mid-winter pedicure. I'm mortified that strangers might glimpse these ugly feet of mine but not enough to actually get a pedicure.

We begin by sitting in the lotus position. I'm already uncomfortable. I cheat by placing blocks under my knees. Off to a great start. Ohmmmm and we're off.

We begin with 1 of about 800 downward dog/plank type shit moves poses that just keep leading into other poses that I struggle with.

When everything starts to shake and I'm about to cry, I unyogaily drop to my knees and child's pose all the while trying to breathe as I silently curse myself for coming to another class. I pull it together and go back into downward dog and then transition into as close as I can to whatever is going on.

When everyone else has their palms on the floor and straight legs - I'm reaching with all my might for my shins.

My flexibility has always been bad. I remember as a kid practicing for months to try to touch my toes or do a split. It just never happened.

And then just as I'm about to swear off yoga forever it's time to lay flat and breathe and Ohmmmm out. Then I think to myself, "that wasn't so bad."

The thing is, and the thing I'm most proud of myself is, I'm not giving up. Oh I (kind of) hate it and I suck at it and if there were a hidden camera in this class it would make for mighty funny YouTube viewing but I'm not quitting. The old me would try it for five minutes and walk out. "I tried, I suck, I'm done." But now-a-days I try, I suck, I keep trying again - hoping to eventually suck less. (I don't know if this is stubborn stupidity or noble - but whatever.)

I choose to believe this is a good new quality I've cultivated.

That's a lesson from losing weight and running that I have learned. I mean I sucked at both of those things for a loooong time too. It took me a long time to get pretty good (and even liking running) and I'm still improving at that.

Took 40 years to figure out losing weight/healthy eating/maintaining -- and I'm still working at that.

I believe that yoga is going to help my calf and hamstring issues - they are very tight. Something has to give. So I owe it (at least to my running self) to keep trying. I would think it'll take 10 or more classes for me to get into a groove.

Yoga doesn't come easy for me. It's frustrating because my competitiveness and A-student mentality makes me want to be good at this and I'm not even close. But I won't give up. Thanks to being cheap (I have groupons of classes to use) and thanks to the new "don't give up and give it a chance" attitude, I'm going to just keep trying.

Do you do yoga?  If not, have you tried it? Hate it or love it? Any others out there as inflexible as me?


PS: Funnily, As hard as Bikram was - I liked that best. Unfortunately, i don't have one of those close to me in Jersey and I'm too broke right now to hop my ass into NYC to pay for class and the $15 commute fee - I do have a gift from Angela for 10 classes in Los Angeles! So I have something to look forward to when i get out that way.


Michelle said...

Oh Jen I could so relate to so much of this! I was just saying to a friend last night after class - when does this get easier?!? I've been doing flow yoga now for about 6 months and it still feels hard as hell - but my instructor says I'm getting better so I keep showing up :)

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I've never done a class, but I've done the show that used to be on Oxygen at 6 am. I've also done the on Demand class with Betheny! I like it but don't do it often enough. I probably can't bring myself to class. I hear a lot of people pass gas- I couldn't keep it together if I did that!

Starr said...

I've had to tell the class leaders to leave me alone--sometimes I can't do something because *I just can't do it*, not because I need them to correct me. I'll get day.

Yoga is so expensive around here. There is one place that will trade services for class (seems more in spirit with Yoga anyway), but right now, I don't even have time for that. Maybe one day!

Elle said...

Can totally relate! Only my inflexibility is in my quads and my hip sockets. I have just started yoga and I am going to keep at it too!

Good for us! :)

Anonymous said...

I do love yoga but it took some time.....they call it practice because you are constantly learning and getting 'better' BTW using blocks or straps or bolster is not cheating they are there to help you. Just try to relax and do what you can and accept how your practice goes as some days will be better than others....the flexibility will come.

Unknown said...

I love yoga! I've been doing it since I was a kid. It gets easier but you have to do it consistently. You should try hatha yoga its much more runner friendly and focuses on stretching and balance. Or try to look up ashtanga sun salutations on youtube and practice those yourself at your own pace. :)

Karen {Run. Lift. Conquer} said...

Yoga does suck at first, but trust me - stick with it and you will get better! My husband has p90X on his computer so I have beeen doing the "yoga x" segment. It's hard. But after doing it about 5 times I've noticed huge improvements in my ability to do most (not all) of the moves. I'm enjoying it much more now and start to look forward to it. The feeling of being all nice and stretched out is pretty great. And it's very beneficial to runners. Don't let the yoga snobs get to you, keep at it :)

RunToTheFinish said...

oh man I feel like every runner on earth who first tried yoga can relate to this!!!! I agree with Michelle I'm always thinking when does this get easier and yet I think that's a lot like running, certain parts become easier so we just start focusing on the next thing to master :)

Jennifer K. said...

I do yoga at 24 Hour Fitness, which I guess is pretty generic. The difficulty depends on the instructor. I'd like to do yoga at a specialized yoga studio, and learn the different kinds, but I'll have to come across a good Groupon to make it worth the effort. Keep working at it. You can only get better!

Unknown said...

Way to go girl! Keep that 'don't give up and give it a chance' attitude. We can't have the innate talent for everything. It takes perseverance to achieve some goals. Plus, nobody ever said Yoga is easy. It get's easier for you eventually, probably, but never easy on the first few days. There are even some who develop their flexibility during the intermediate classes. You will certainly get there! :*