A Skeptical Namaste

Eleanor Roosevelt says to do one thing every day that scares you, and since getting advice from a former first lady’s ghost terrifies the hell out of me, I guess I’m already ahead of the curve.

Other scary things in my recent repertoire?

  • Traveling to beautiful, drug cartel-filled Monterrey, Mexico, the same day 14 Colombian boy band members were found slain in a well.
  • Sitting for both a typhoid and tetanus shot on Friday ahead of my fast-approaching trip to India.
  • Watching the 1984 American horror comedy Gremlins.
Just kidding. That wasn't me. Gizmo is terrifying.

Just kidding. That wasn’t me. I’d never watch something so scary.

 

But those aren’t even at the top of my list. This past week, I did something that truly filled my palpitating heart with pure, 100-percent, not-from-concentrate fear: I went to a yoga class.

I know, I know. The rest of you well-rounded runners have been touting the merits of yoga for years, but for this one-trick pony, the prospect of adding organized stretching to my workout routine was enough to induce panic. And why wouldn’t it? I’m not flexible, I’m not patient, and the last (also, only) time I tried yoga, I was publicly scolded for failing to hit and hold the proper poses. Cue my stubborn decision to walk away from that Upper West Side studio – and the entire sport – forever.

But a lot has changed since that scarring 2008 yoga class. I’m four and a half years older, 30 pounds lighter, significantly stronger (waist down, that is. Let’s be honest: these typhoid-filled arms can still barely lift a pen) and, dare I say, slightly more patient. I no longer see health and fitness as an ultimate goal, but rather, as a continuous lifestyle. And, most importantly, I have the tightest hamstrings on this side of the Mississippi and was willing to try absolutely anything – save cat ownership – for a moment’s reprieve.

There are dozens of bells and whistles yoga studios within a stone’s throw of my apartment, but I elected to try a class in the basement of the 92nd St. Y in hopes that no one would be wearing Lululemon.  And it was brutal and painful and impossible – and just what I needed. I may not have known what I was doing and I may have been shaking like a wet dog as these aching quads struggled to hold a lunge pose, but I walked away feeling like a million dollars on legs that didn’t hurt for a solid 10 hours. I’d been hearing for years that yoga is the perfect complement to running, and finally, I’ll swallow my pride and admit it – you all may be right.

Unfortunately, I’m off to India later this week, so I won’t be able to take a follow-up yoga class at the 92Y. Fortunately, India invented yoga, so maybe I’ll get a shot at redemption after all.

How do you work yoga into your fitness routine?

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3 Responses to A Skeptical Namaste

  1. Maureen says:

    I try to go to a yoga class once a week, usually on the weekends. I think it has helped my running, but it definitely can be intimidating. There are lots of poses my tight hamstrings do not like.

    • I’ve been wondering: to reap the benefits as a runner, is once weekly yoga the goal? Should I be targeting more frequently? Or is even once a month still a useful exercise? Help! Make decisions for me!

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