Friday, September 24, 2010

The downside of Yoga

The downside of being more aware of your body is that you are more aware of everything that’s wrong with your body.  Yoga makes you very aware of your posture, which muscles are tight and how good your balance is.  Last Sunday at Karma yoga the girl sitting in front of me is what I like to call a bendy straw.  It is my personal opinion that if you get to the level that this girl was at you should not be going to the intermediate classes anymore, you should only go to super advanced classes because all you’re doing is showing off and making everyone else look bad.  She could take every posture above and beyond, bending herself into all kinds of pretzel shapes.  And the crazy part was that she was one of those super tall and thin Amazon types with long blond hair, I swear the girl was probably 6’3”.  She was one of the most flexible people I have ever seen.  Even though it made me feel pretty inadequate, it was something to aspire to.
Hot Yoga
I AM NOT FLEXIBLE.  To be honest, I can’t even sit cross legged properly.  I’m always jealous of other people in hot yoga class because the front wall is mirrored floor to ceiling (so you can see everyone all at once) and when we are sitting with our legs crossed and most people have their knees on the floor or they have their feet pulled in over their knees and then there’s me, trying to sit with my legs crossed, knees sticking way up.  In hot yoga the other night we did this pose, called Gomukhasana (I think) and it looked something like this:
Gomokhasana, cow faced pose
I could not do it.  The goal is to align your knees one on top of the other, feet out to the side and have both sides of your bum remain on the floor.  I simply could not do it, I couldn’t even come close to getting my butt to sit flat on the floor.  Before I lived with Melissa I lived with a friend of mine, let’s call her Runts.  Runts is now a physiotherapist but was in school when we were roommates.  Runts and her physio friends all had to practice on each other during school everyday so when they would be studying for exams I would sometimes be offered up as a guinea pig, someone new to practice on.  This, like yoga, makes you very aware of what’s wrong with your body.  “Hmm, that’s weird”, is not something you want to hear from someone studying the human body.  Runts told me that when I leaned backwards I bent from the middle of my back instead of my hips, that the triangular bone at the base of my spine was more angled than most people’s (I think she referred to it as mutated) which gave me a deeper curve in my lower back and that I had very little movement in my hips and ankles.  I can now see that she was right about how crappy all my joints are, thanks Runts and yoga.  I’ve always been grateful that I never injured my knees.  I don’t think I know a single person my age that is or was an athlete that hasn’t done some significant damage to their knees.  So knees, since I’ve taken such excellent care of you over the years how about you work properly.  New yoga goal = joint flexibility = bendy straw.

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