Yoga hasn’t really ever been on my to-do list other than some DDP Yoga and P90x stuff at home and definitely no yoga in front of anyone and my TV. But should it be? Should I venture out more to yoga classes and get my downward facing dog on with others? Well a few Thursdays ago, I gave it a go and here is what I felt during it.
I will not lie, I was nervous, not only was I expecting Victoria to lead me to my embarrassment at being laughed at for my sluggish efforts and possibly being carted off in an ambulance for pulling all the hamstrings. I also expected to be doing this in front of people like her, young fit bendy people who have done this for a while and are pretty damn good at it.
I had heard about the instructor from Victoria and about how pleasant he was, but in my mind, I still had this idea of a super hippie guy talking nonsense to me about hot to relax and move etc. I was truly dreading this session, more than any race I have ever run. More than any time I have braved it down to the weight room. Making a fool of myself in front of guys is easy, they are stronger, but for some reason trying to tell myself that doing the same in front of predominately girls and in fact only around 10 or so, is fine. It’s nothing, I don’t have to go back if I fall over straight onto my face. I also had the fear of embarrassing Victoria as it was her usual class and her instructor. My mind works in stupid ways.
But off I went with my mat that Victoria got me at Christmas to the class.
What I think I liked most about this specific class and as a neophyte to such an environment I am not educated enough to speak for the all of yoga classes in Belfast, is that there was a mix of ages and abilities. As previously mentioned, yoga has that idea of an abundance of young fit women stretching their bodies in every direction, when in fact, as with running and the gym and weights and CrossFit. There is a mix of ages and abilities and genders. Yes, I was the only male in the class that night, but I am sure there are guys who cross paths with this class. Victoria said sometimes she see’s a guy there.
Another reality I found, was that although I had gained a bit of weight over the past while, I was still quite flexible and actually surprised the instructor over how flexible I am. I will admit, my body shape and general look does not provide the vibe of someone who is in any way flexible, but there I was surprising him. Being told that I had very open hips must be a good thing, and when I informed him that I was a runner, he was a little more surprised as apparently, runners have tight hips. This surprised me a little as I stretch quite a bit and have never had issues with my hips and how I can move them. But there I was being all opened hipped in the class and for the most part being able to keep up with the others. Maybe not as advanced of course, but a good solid (well loosely solid) beginner.
I found a few difficulties with the class. Movement wise I struggled with getting my hands to twist around each other as if they were string. I was reliably told that I will get better at that, but as with doing the same with my legs (twisting them around twice… Sorry what?) Some of these moves are a lot harder for men. I am assuming my testicles being in the way was one of these issues.
These are of course minor difficulties, but the one I struggled with the most right up until the end was the breathing. Breathe in but push your stomach out and then vice versa for breathing out, just got me all kinds of muddled up and the instructor assisted me a couple of times with this. Luckily, this only annoyed me a little, but only from the context that I don’t like being bad or struggling with something after a few goes. I try to always get off to a flying start or at worst find my feet very quickly. This will take time it seems.
Most definitely, the classes are small and friendly, the instructor is polite and plus I have this cute girl beside me who touched my hand in the first class when we were just lying down…