On Sunday I went to a Yoga Celebration Day in aid of Save the Children. Right stop laughing at the back
The day was organised by the amazing Jo Wheeler in aid of Save the Children
Here’s a video from the day by one of the teachers: Brett Moran. You can see me hiding at the back in my trademark turquoise shorts. Fortunately for my dignity they didn’t catch the moment where my handstand went very wrong.
I’ve now reached the stage in my life where fitness, health, flexibility and recovery don’t come naturally any more.
There was a time when what I did off the bike had no impact on what I did on the bike. More importantly, what I did on the bike had no impact on the rest of my life.
That is no longer the case. About 8 years ago I reached the age where I “have to look after myself.” Whatever that actually means. Thus, after a few years of my wife badgering me to give it a go, I finally cracked and attended a yoga class.
You know what? It was OK. It wasn’t an Epiphany, I didn’t suddenly see the energy threads that tie the universe together and I didn’t feel the urge to suddenly move to Thailand. What I did do was enjoy it. It was simultaneously much easier and much harder than I was expecting. I’m a bloke who rides bikes, such things as tight calves and quads come as standard. On the other hand, so does a reasonable core and a semblance of balance.
Yoga is not competitive. Even with yourself
It was fun. It was just the right level of “challenging”, so I went back the next week. And the next. And now it’s eight years later. I get a lot out of it. I enjoy the company, I enjoy the much slower pace that takes me away from the helter-skelter that is the rest of my life, it challenges me in new and interesting ways.
I can feel the difference. I am more flexible, my balance is better, my posture is better and, above all, I am much better at listening to what my body is capable of and respecting that. Often when riding, especially when pushing hard, the limitations of your body are something to be pushed at and to be overcome.
Yoga is the exact opposite of that. The comment above is something I come back to again and again. I find it really helpful.
I’ve seen several other blokes (and it is usually fellas) go through the same process as me. Rock up expecting to be brilliant, grunt through the first session without really listening to what’s happening, push yourself to go as deep as possible without listening to your body or what the posture actually is, get miffed that it’s hard and all these ladies seem to find it easy, then either get disheartened or accept the situation for what it is and come back.
Thanks to Lorna for putting up with me as I went through that process.
As someone once said to me “the difference between you and me is that I’ve been doing this for years. That’s all.”
So give it a go
I’d recommend it to everyone. You really don’t need to be a hippy to enjoy it. It will be harder and more physical than you’re expecting, it will also be easier. If you accept it for what it is.
If you’re worried about looking a plonker, watch the video. Check out my shorts and then think to yourself: “I can’t look that bad.”