I’ve already told you that you better be stretching (See Workout Do: Stretching). If you’re trying to “up” that New Year’s Resolution just a little bit more, but can’t force another spin session or another run on the treadmill, then I have the perfect practice for you: Yoga.
Yoga is not just for hippies. And it’s the best thing that you never knew you were missing until you actually try it. I promise. You don’t have to pay the fancy-shmancy price of a high-class yoga studio (although I’m sure the workouts are great) because it is possible to find affordable yoga classes at your very own gym. I belong to Gold’s Gym in East Greenwich, which has an awesome class schedule, yoga included. I discovered this new found love of mine a couple of months ago, and while putting my body to the test, I’m slowly learning how to relax.
Relaxing is a huge challenge for me. I’m constantly on-the-go and hate to waste time. So I’ll be honest; I was weary of the calm and collective yogi masters at first. Why would I spend over an hour holding awkward poses in a dark room (at least the heat’s turned up, right?) when I could be getting a serious cardio workout in?
Well, because yoga IS a serious cardio workout. My muscles were exhausted within the first 30 minutes. The strength and flexibility that I have left from 18 years of gymnastics weren’t so impressive next to the 60-year-old pretzel woman in front of me. And the men? They put my headstand and forearm handstands to shame.
But I’m missing the point. Wasn’t I trying to relax? The whole point of practicing yoga is to become in-tune with your body. Listen to your breath, stop looking around, and relax. There will be beginners and experts in every class, so there’s no point in comparing yourself to the other people around you. Allow yourself to let go and unwind after a long day. Savasana eases you into a final relaxation and lets your mind be at peace.
My advice? Don’t give up after the first class. It’s going to be a bit overwhelming, especially with a whole new language talking you through the “experience.” There are different types of yoga and you’ll eventually find the one that fits. So give it a fair chance. I guarantee that in no time, you’ll be feeling more relaxed.