Starting yoga was never something I’d imagined myself doing. However I recently found myself dragged along to a class! Popular among women, yet not so much with men, I found myself in a class with 5 men and 30 women. Its safe to say I’m one of the most inflexible human beings alive. So taking up yoga had never crossed my mind. But after a few classes I’d noticed a number of improvements in my flexibility, posture, strength and even balance. Here’s what I learned from starting yoga…
After my first class I found myself practicing the basic “child pose” which in turn helped me when it came to leg day the following evening. You work a lot on flexibility in a yoga class so I noticed because I’d been stretching my legs out I was able to achieve a better, deeper squat on the squat rack.
Yoga is all about holding your own body weight and challenging your body to move in different ways. From many years of weight training, when it came to holding my own body weight I was comfortable in doing this. However instead of my normal four sets of eight reps, I was finding myself being challenged by having to hold the same position for 30 seconds to a minute. This makes it a lot tougher and therefore strengthens my core much more than normal.
When I was younger and possibly more stupid (if possible) I damaged my rotary cuff when doing some incline chest. So now sometimes when weightlifting if I have not warmed up properly I suffer very nasty shoulder burns and cramp. This has always bugged me but since going to yoga I have learned a variety of stretches and exercises to open up my shoulder/chest and minimise all the cramps and pains.
Since starting yoga I have noticed I sleep a lot better. I don’t know if that’s because yoga reduces muscle tension or because you learn to breath slow and steady, but after each class I always find that I am able to sleep a lot better than I do other nights.
Another bad trait of mine was poor posture. At just over 6ft 3″ I always find myself slouching over. However since starting yoga I’ve noticed my posture has got a lot better. What’s even better is other people around me have also noticed! Someone at work the other day asked if I had “gotten taller?”. Since going to yoga regularly I have started to stand up straight and open up my chest with my shoulders back a lot more. All of this was learnt just from basic postures in my yoga classes.
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