I was first introduced to yoga by my grandfather when I was a child. My first few classes were all about learning to breathe correctly. It was either about breathing in through one nostril and breathing out through the other. Or maybe, it was breathing in through my nose and breathing out through my mouth. I can’t accurately recollect.
Over the next few years, my grandfather forced me to continue with yoga and I remember practicing the Dhanurasan (Bow Pose) where he would tell me to bend backwards more, or the Matsyasana (Fish Pose) where it was always difficult to catch hold of my left toe.
This was back in school. During those days, my grandfather would be around while I practiced yoga and would ensure that I hold all the poses for the correct number of counts. That was a long time back. I grew up (or so I think), started adult life and stopped doing yoga seriously. I say “seriously”, because once in a while, I practice a few yoga poses which I remember, but I don’t count or breathe correctly. The truth is I’ve lost touch with yoga.
Recently I started toying with the idea of starting yoga lessons, and happened to find one very close to the new place I’ve moved to. In fact it’s walking distance from my home and I happened to stumble upon the place while exploring the area. After a lot of mental back and forth (yes, I’m like that), I finally attended a trial class, and though it was quite painful, I’ve been hooked since.
It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve joined, and below are 5 thoughts I’ve had so far.
5. It Hurts Quite a Bit: I’m pretty regular with my exercise, and even then my first yoga class was extremely painful. In fact, it made me ashamed of myself, because as a chubby child I could do yoga so easily! It made me realize how easy it is to lose your agility and flexibility by just sticking to same routine exercises and especially the repetitive types. In the first week, I attended 3 classes, and everyday my aches seemed to get worse. I was wondering if I was doing something wrong. Then I did a lot of research and realized that I’m supposed to continue even if it aches because if I stopped now, I would just be back to where I was when I started, and in fact the aches were a good sign. It meant that my immobile muscles were being moved (forcefully).
I just attended my 5th class yesterday, and I can honestly say that I feel a lot better now. I’ve also stopped getting as tired as I used to initially. I’m still very inflexible, and my head is never able to touch my knee when I bend down, and neither am I able to fully stretch my leg out, and pull my toe. But, I’m hoping to get there soon.
4. It’s not “chill”: Yoga unfairly gets touted as a relaxing exercise and people think they can just lie down and stretch a little and be done. But, yoga’s not like that at all. In fact, our instructor makes us do quite a bit of power yoga, and that is extremely strenuous.
Power Yoga is all about rapidly changing poses and then holding tough poses.
So, if you think it’s all about sitting with your legs crossed and day-dreaming (that’s what I thought it would be like) you’re wrong. It’s a great workout and you’re going to be quite tired after class. Of course, this totally depends on which type of class you sign up for. If you are someone who likes a bit of a challenge, I would suggest signing up for classes which offer a bit of power yoga.
3. It’s not boring at all: A lot of people told me yoga classes would be really boring. But, they were so wrong. In fact, yoga was a surprise break from gym, aerobics and the occasional jogging / swimming that I do.
It mixes up my routine and even focuses on different muscle groups.
The only time class can get boring is right at the end, when you’re relaxing. But, by then I’m so tired, that the relaxation part is a big relief. I go for one hour classes and by the time, I’m done, I sometimes can’t even believe it’s already been an hour.
2. Its not the same as watching You-Tube videos and trying to work out at home: For a long time, I’ve been against joining any sort of exercise class, as I feel it’s a waste of money. I used to feel that watching You-Tube videos and practicing at home is the best thing possible. That does work for aerobics, but never seemed to work for yoga. Going to a class and having that sort of energy around you is very important for you to really start focusing on the different positions and moves. It just doesn’t happen at home, unless you’re a yogi of course.
1. I’ve not reached a calm state yet: One of the other reasons I took up yoga is because I’m extremely hyper and I stress a lot. Though I am now on the path to peace and mindfulness (and this I want to believe), I haven’t reached there yet. It takes time. Given the kind of world we live in today, our minds are always jumping all over the place. And, it’s going to be tough to change that. It’s all about the small changes. Nowadays, I don’t think of anything else while I do my yoga classes. And, I force myself to attend no matter how lazy I am or how preoccupied I might be with work. Taking an hour out to concentrate on your body and self is worth it and signing up for classes makes me stick to my schedule.
I’m going to give you another update in about two weeks, by which time, I hope to be feeling a little more comfortable. Till then, I suggest you also start checking out some yoga classes close to your home!