August 14, 2015

For quite a while now, I’ve been thinking I should take up yoga. You know, getting old, getting stiff, getting fat(ter), the usual reasons.

Also, I must admit, I thought yoga might be something I might be good at. Or at least, not exactly good at, but better than my better half, who’s better at all things physical than me, hence the need for one-up-man-ship.

So what is this extremely unlikely belief based on? The mere fact that I can bend and touch the ground and the better half can’t even reach his ankles. Haha. Plus I can almost do a full split, and I can bend sideways and grab my ankle and suchlike awesome stuff without even trying (much). (Of course, I generally try to do such things only after a challenge and a couple of drinks – but it says a lot that I can even do such things after a couple of drinks.)

However, there is also, on the other hand, the sad fact that I can’t even sit cross-legged for more than five minutes at a stretch, far less do a padmasana (or a half padmasana – and if you don’t know what that is, you’ll have to look it up, because it is fairly impossible to accurately describe that or any other asana in words). In fact, when I was about 5, they made us, for a very brief period of time, do yoga at school and I seriously sucked at it. (I guess that’s because I didn’t have a couple of drinks in me in those days. Huh. Totally unfair.)

So anyway, I decided to take a stab at it and I signed up for a two-month course. Which is not a very good idea, because after two days I wished I hadn’t.

Now, after a month, I’m somewhat conflicted about it.

On the one hand, there is a certain thrill in being able to bend and twist your body in all manner of odd ways that it was never designed to bend and twist in. And I can’t deny that that all-stretched-out feeling is nice. And everyone says it does wonders for your general health and fitness, so I’ll just assume they’re right about that.

It’s just the actual doing of it that I have trouble with. You know – the aching arms, the gasping breath, the sweat and toil. I mean, I have most of that with tennis as well (not the aching arms though) but tennis is just fun, you get the thrill of whacking the ball and also, if you’re good, of making the other guy run. (If you’re not good, you get the thrill of chasing after the damn ball, which is not so much fun, but is major motivation to become good.)

Yoga is all the pain with not so much of the thrill. I particularly hate it when the instructor makes me do abs in the guise of yoga. Hey, I’ve been into enough gyms by mistake over the years. You can’t fool me. Abs is abs, it’s not yoga. Yoga should be all relaxed and fun, not hard grunt work like abs. Making me do abs is a human rights violation, if you ask me.

And I don’t like the back exercises much either, mainly because I can’t do them.

Also the ones that require padmasana or anything that needs the knee to fold inwards while standing or sitting, such as the tree (vrikshasana).

So it’s a mixed bag for sure. I do get to show off with the exercises that require straightening the leg and bending in any direction at the waist, and there are quite a few of those, which is good.

Oddly enough, I think what I like the most is being bossed around by the instructor. I mean, it’s so comfortable. If I were to do yoga at home, I’d have to worry about which exercises to do and when. I’d have to make sure I didn’t just avoid the ones I don’t like and only do the ones I like. I’d have to make sure I do the damn breathing stuff at the end in a disciplined way. (I don’t like the breathing stuff – it’s boring.)

With instructor-led yoga, I don’t have to worry about a thing. He tells me what to do, and I follow obediently. That’s so nice! Of course, he makes me do horrible things and I hate him too, but… well, that’s ok.

So it’s easy enough to make myself go to yoga class for another month, knowing that I might not like what it entails, but I’ll probably be good at most of it, and it’s probably good for me, and in any case, it’s all the instructor’s responsibility.

Will I be able to keep it up after the class ends? Unlikely… but let’s see.

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