“Don’t do it mom. Don’t go.”
“But William swears by it,” I replied to my youngest son. “He says that it’s a great workout and that the class always fills up really quick.”
“It sounds terrible. All those sweaty people doing yoga in a hot, smelly gym….Ew!”
Hmm, maybe the kid has a point.
I have never been a big fan of yoga. I have tried yoga a gazillion times over the years but always walk away feeling like I didn’t get a good workout or torch too many calories. However, maybe I was missing the point of yoga.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years. Evidence of yoga can be traced as far back as 5000 years ago from ancient texts (Rig Veda) in Northern India. The emphasis of ancient yoga was on meditation and philosophy. It wasn’t until the early 1800’s that the Sritattvanidhi, a treatise depicting 122 yoga poses, that the physical aspects of yoga became more well-known. Practicing yoga regularly improves one’s balance, flexibility and strength. It also offers many mental benefits including improving relaxation, reducing stress and calming your nervous system. Yoga can help being present in the moment and infuse your spirit with positive energy.
I entered the 105 degree room, and immediately dreaded not heeding my son’s sage advice. Dozens of lithe and limber bodies were warming up, doing head-stands, back-bends and various other yoga contortions. Intimidated and already sweating from the high temperature, I meekly sought refuge way in the back of the room.
The instructor started the class with very slow and somewhat easy to follow yoga-pose sequences. I was feeling pretty good about myself that I was able to keep up. That’s when things started to fall apart. The slow-moving sequences became fast-moving sequences. When my fellow “yogis” were in Cobra pose, I was still in Downward Dog. When they were in Warrior 1 stance, I was still on the floor in Cat Pose. Nevertheless I persisted and somehow shvitzed (yiddish for sweated), my way to the end. The last 10 minutes of the class was the relaxing and breathing part. Finally, a part of the class that I could do! While the lights were lowered, we followed a series of breathing, stretching and de-stressing exercises, ending the class with a final “Ommmm”.
While I am quite sure that I did not burn too many calories, I walked out of the class feeling relaxed, limber and in a great mood. While I am not a convert just yet, I will definitely give it another try.
Chow for now!