Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Won't Give Up On Yoga... Yet.

When I first started taking Pilates classes about five years ago, I was skeptical at first. I went for the first couple of weeks and didn't really "get it." I'd go through the motions but not feel the benefits until one day the mind-body connection clicked and I finally understood that I needed my mind to tell my core to control my arm and leg movements. Eventually I even found myself using my core to do everyday tasks like steer my car and pick up items off the floor. I think it will take more than a few weeks for me to "get" yoga...

I knew from the beginning that this would be a struggle. My brain doesn't shut off and I tend to dislike meditation and awkward moments. Yoga class is like one long awkward moment of weird nose breathing, envisioning energy, and chanting at the end of class.

Why bother if I don't like it that much? I want to like it, and I've read that yoga can help make your muscles more lean. My DRD is under control with medications, but one problem with having dystonia is that there can be increased muscle tone and shortened tendons, probably related to my recent case of tendinitis. I am hoping that yoga can stretch me out a little, keep my Achilles safe, and if I can hold some cool yoga poses that would be even better.

I have taken two classes with two different instructors, but I definitely prefer my Sunday class to the Wednesday one. The Sunday instructor gives more guidance and does more poses while the Wednesday instructor includes too much meditation and tends to sit in lotus pose while verbally talking us through the class.

Although they were different in many ways, both classes included a basic sequence of Mountain Pose, Sun Salutation, Down Facing Dog, Low Lunge, High Lunge, and Cobra. Hopefully by the end of the session I will have the sequence memorized and can practice at home! If you are a big follower of the TV series "The Office," you might think it's funny that there is a pose called "Up Dog," as in, it smells like up dog in here.

If you are thinking about trying a yoga class, I have a few recommendations. Look into trying one for free first in case you hate it, and go in with an open mind. Bring your own mat that carries your own germs. Wear something that is comfortable and that you can move and bend in, but also something that will stay in place when you are upside-down, or have you feet in the air. You may also want to research yoga online a little and familiarize yourself with the names of some poses, because it is really frustrating when the instructor says to go into a specific pose when you don't know what that pose is.

My sister-in-law and friend taught me a couple poses last summer when we were camping. Here's a picture that Sister took of me trying to do a headstand. I hope that the instructor will spot me if we ever get that creative in class!


knittingdragonflies said...

Yay, you will be a pro before you know it! I'm a long time yoga girl, but just started pilates!

Physical Therapy Supplies said...

I am also interested in a basic sequence of Mountain Pose, Sun Salutation. You have an enormous blog. Thanks for sharing your opinion with me. I am delighted with your views.