Athlete Meets Yoga

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With my beautiful, fearless yoga instructor, Tracye

 

As I sit in a coffee shop, sipping my morning coffee and writing this blog on yoga, it seems a far cry from the workout I just put in this morning….

a strong hour on the rowing machine, sweat flying everywhere, breathing hard, heart beating fast with edgy rock music blaring in my ears.

Nothing but pure, strong, energy. I love it. I thrive on the hard work required during a workout I’m throwing myself into.

It’s why I love running and cycling too… just the constant strong, fast movement  and the heady rush that comes with it.

Therefore…. the idea of yoga… seemed so…tame to me.

Quiet. Still. Slow. Chill music. Peaceful mind emptied of thoughts.

The polar opposite of everything I feed on.

YET…. I have read articles galore about how good yoga is for a runners body, overall for the athlete in general. I had often pondered trying a class. I have a lovely friend who has taught for years and encouraged me to come… then the other day… the planets were all in alignment haha 😉

I read a post where she was doing an afternoon class for 5.00. Seriously?  Timing and price were perfect… how could I not finally go try?

Ok I will admit to teasing her about not killing me.. torturing me in some awful moves. The reality probably was closer to… I didn’t wanna look goofy 😛

So I showed up to my first class ready to be bent, contorted, and peacefully molded.

I’ll tell you what I learned….

Ok first, she was awesome. And patient. And carefully showed the class modifications from easy to hardest moves.

Athletically, I’m used to using my strength to power through what I do whether it’s lifting weights, running or being on my bike. In yoga I quickly felt and understood that it would be my strength under focused control.

There were moves that I felt instantly grateful for my strength training as I had to rely on holding moves out ( hello deep lunges, with my arms outstretched over me and to the side) my muscles responded and did what was asked of them..it was still hard.

Balance moves? “The tree” you are posed on one foot with the other tucked to the inside of your thigh… planted.. like a tree… and hopefully…just standing strong and still like that. Hello…. thank you single leg deadlifts that I’ve been pounding out that has helped me develop really good balance.

There were a lot of flexibility exercises that it turns out.. hey…for all I do.. I’m pretty darn flexible. Bending, twisting, holding poses.  Some weren’t easy but that made it even more challenging to me.

And speaking of that… challenging… I also learned… it appears I’m just as competitive with myself in yoga as anything else I do. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing haha

When she showed us all the moves from easiest to hardest… my mind immediately went to the top level. If it was suggested you could “try to do it” … I immediately went for it.

OMG… it’s a sickness… isn’t it? That competitive streak in me…

the icing on the cake of that? It showed me what I’m capable of that I didn’t know I could even do. When she had us tucked into a bridge position, she moved her hands over her shoulders and behind her head… and seamlessly moved into a backbend.

She indicated we could do that… I laughed… like that “there’s no way” kinda laugh….but as I started pushing myself that direction… and… oh my.. it was working… I felt somewhat like a sea whale attempting the move and dropped down… hoping I wouldn’t look like I was helplessly floundering on the floor…

at her encouragement that I had it… I went right into it again.. doing better the second time. I practiced last night… it’s starting to feel easier.

A back bend.   At 51.

I’ve never done one in my entire life.

I was pretty excited over that stunt haha 😛

I also just learned a lot of great stretching moves which feel amazing. I find myself just stopping to do some of them during my day.

Of course, it is an activity where you focus on quieting your mind, breathing ( ha… I must remember to focus on breathing!) and just learn to relax in what I’m doing.

I admit… this will take a little time for me….turning my mind down is hard….

But… I like challenges… so I’m trying a class next week… we’ll see how that goes…

 

Tell me… do you or have you done yoga? Do you find it beneficial? What do you like about it?  If you’re an athlete, do you find it has helped you?