Sunday 2 November 2014


Yoga and I have had a difficult relationship. For a long time I have eschewed it, as something that is difficult and really not worth my time. Regular yoga makes me be fair, everything makes me sweat. I am a sweaty person. But, in the past this was harder to deal with in yoga where everyone looks serene as they glide through their sun salutations, while I drip on the floor and try not to gasp for breath too loudly.

I did try bikram a couple of times. You might remember how that turned out.

However, I decided this year that my fitness goal was to be able to do the splits, and about half way through the way I realised that strength training and cardio was not going to assist me in this goal. I decided I would try yoga and pilates again, with a view to becoming bendy enough to possibly cope with bikram. I mean, I know I hated it, but if I was bendier, surely it might be more pleasant?

I duly attended a pilates class and a yoga class at the leisure centre. I am a lot stronger and fitter than I was the last time I tried these classes and I was interested to see the difference. Firstly, pilates was easy. It did not leave me with sore abs; the class was not challenging like it used to be. I have a strong core. I do a lot of planks.

Secondly, yoga was still hard but I didn't mind the sweat as much as I used to. I think this comes from years of working out with a personal trainer who gets positively giddy when I am pouring sweat, applauds when my forehead gently steams in a cold gym, and takes pictures of the sweat angels I leave on the black gym mats where I have collapsed with exhaustion, posting them on Facebook as evidence of my efforts. It is hard to feel bad about sweating in the face of such positive reinforcement.

And, although yoga is hard, I am much more appreciative of what it is doing to my body and what my body can do with it than I ever used to be. I am aware of where I am strong (core) and where I am weak (arms). I buy into that meditation, unblock your chi, breathe breath into the tight bits of your body stuff in a way I found very difficult to in the past. I recognise that although I find certain poses almost impossible, others I can do with ease - and that is the same for most of the class.

Today's Sunday yoga class was a particularly good one and because of this, and having now been practising yoga weekly for two months, I finally feel like we have turned a corner together. I may be a couple of months off trying bikram again, but I can see myself going back one day.

And, of course, this opens up a whole new shopping alley for me. Mats, clothing, water bottles...

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