Thursday, March 13, 2008

Blessed are the flexible

Looking at that pose... can you get any idea of just how good it feels? Camel pose feels wonderful to me and is my favorite among the more difficult poses. I've been practising yoga for about six months now, a couple times a week. *Practise* is the operative word here: practising not falling over, practising not being self-conscious about the stuff I can't do, practising not being such a clutz!

I went to my first yoga class nearly ten years ago and was totally intimidated by it. I continued to go for a while, but eventually let it go once I realized either the teacher or the routine wasn't a good fit for me. I didn't expect that I would give it another try and never expected to enjoy it nearly as much as I am now.

It's really great fun and is something of a humbling experience for me. I've seen a lot of improvement in terms of my strength and flexibility, but not much yet in the area of balance. I still fall all over myself regularly, but the atmosphere in the classes is such that I can laugh without feeling embarassed anymore. My poor sense of balance is a result of poor concentration skills, I know, but that's partly what practising yoga is about, isn't it? Developing that communication between the mind and the body without all the clutter?

Backbends like camel are a little scary because you're sort of throwing yourself backwards into the unknown. There's the worry that you'll collapse or, worse, not be able to find yourself upright again. I've seen this pose described as one that is transformational in that it forces you to conquer fear and develop gratitude as a result. Mostly I'm just grateful for the tremendous stretch and peaceful feeling I have there. Wonderful!

Anybody else have any experience with yoga?

"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape."

Camel pose image from richardspics

21 comments:

KGMom said...

Not. sure. that. my. body. could. do. that.
No--I am sure; it couldn't!

Susan Gets Native said...

Good Lord. The last time I was in that position was before I reached puberty.
I have thought about yoga...getting all my flexibility back, doing something just for me. But I don't know.

Chad said...

I am VERY impressed, Wow! Is that you in the picture. I wanted to reach out and help you!

Rabbits' Guy said...

My experience with yoga is at the fitness center. There is always a class just finishing up when I get there. It is dark and they are all laying on mats listening to classical music and the soothing voice of the teacher saying "reeeeelaaaaaaxxxx and thank your bodies for ..." oh, you get it!!!

David Williams said...

Wow, the camel pose is too good. It is a bit difficult in the beginning but when we keep practicing it becomes easy. Even our body becomes flexible.

Jayne said...

Yoga has always been on my "list of things I want to learn before I die but have not made an effort to do yet." You may just inspire me Laura!

Jane Marie said...

I wen to yoga classes years ago when my children were young. The class was offered for free through a program offered by the county. I absolutely loved it, but as all things throughout your life, it just sort of faded away. I have a yoga CD that I have been meaning towatch and start again. It's for older students (so sad I have to use that term). I think your post has inspired me to finally try it today. I need to get ready for the garden.

dguzman said...

I want to try it because my body has never been very flexible. But finding the time....

John said...

I don't think I have that kind of flexibility.

Mary said...

Hurray for you, Laura. I have not tried Yoga but I've done similar exercises - a long time ago - slow, methodic ones are the best for strength. Now, I'm pathetic and weak :o) Thanks for the reminder. I might try some moves tomorrow, VERY CAREFULLY!

crazyforcinema said...

I enjoy yoga a lot. In additional flexibility, it also helps build strength in your arms, legs and core. I also find it mellows me out for a bit. That said, I have a tough time actually getting to a class and spending 1.5 hours in it after a long day of work. It's definitely a good thing and you don't have to be ultra-flexible. That's not the point (or it shouldn't be).

Have you tried the headstand? Talk about needing balance!

Beth in NYC

gardenpath said...

Laura, I thought it was just me! Glad to hear someone else has balance problems, while doing the poses. Even as badly as I do them, the stretches make me feel better.

Floridacracker said...

Will I have to eat tofu?

Webtoad said...

This picture hurts me.

LauraHinNJ said...

KGMom: I think you'd be surprised at what your body can manage - yoga is actually really good for 'older' joint health.

Susan: Laugh. I don't picture you as the yoga type anyway. Maybe kick-boxing.

;-)

(Love ya!)

Chad: Hi. No, but thanks anyway for the offer.

Rabbit's Guy: Sounds pretty familiar, but for the classical music part.

David: Hi. Yep.

Jayne: I think it might be a perfect fit for you, plus it's fun!

Jane Marie: Yea.. it's hard to find the time, but worth the effort for me.

I've thought about a CD, but like going to class - like having a special place.

Did you try it, like you said you might?

Delia: Do try. It's fun making your body into a pretzel!

John: No? There are a few guys in my classes.. and no, they're not as flexible as the women, but they have the upper body strenth to do some of the really hard stuff, plus they seem to have good balance.

Mary: Right.. you need something else in your day.

Beth: Hi! I do weight training, too (before yoga class) and agree that yes - it does mellow me out - which I really, really need usually.

Headstand is still way beyond me - I'm scared even to try, honestly.

Sandy: I love the way I feel after class - stretched and flexible.

FC: Yes - lots!

webtoad: hmm.

;-)

ReluctantChickenFarmer said...

Hey pretzel girl ! My back hurts just looking at that picture. I'll settle for a little meditation instead of that pretzel dance. Plus you can take a nap. No way you are gonna nap in a pose like that. Ouch.

Cathy said...

Oh. My. Gosh!

Oh, my, my, my.

Laura, I would love to do that. I'll bet it feels wonderful.

With my old neck - I'm just hoping I can 'get' the spring migrants that are perched higher than 20 feet without having to go to the chiropractor ;0)

LauraHinNJ said...

reluctantchickenfarmerbrotherofmine: Actually Kev, there's a special part at the end of yoga class where you almost get to take a nap! You'd like it - no standing up required!

;-)

Cathy: It does feel wonderful! (The massages from a chiropractor feel pretty wonderful, too.)

;-)

I hope you get all those spring migrants, too.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Susan said...

Laura, I've been practicing yoga on & off for years & I have to say that I feel much better when I practice regularly. But camel pose - I'd forgotten all about that one - I remember that our teacher (60+ years old) had no trouble with it, but I thought it was very difficult. Child's pose is more my cup of tea!

LauraHinNJ said...

Susan: ;-)

Child's pose is a great relaxer in between others.

It's interesting to me to see what's easy for some and so difficult for others. I have lots of trouble with those ones that involve the shoulders... they're impossible for me! They say we each hold our stresses in different places.. mine is certainly the shoulders!