Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mea Culpa, Skinny Hippies.

About 15 years ago, I bought a Yoga DVD.  Every day for about a week I would circle the thing, warily eyeing it, and thinking about popping it in. But knowing how inflexible and clumsy and generally uncoordinated I am, I was too afraid to try it. At the time, I was fairly broke, so the 20 bucks it cost represented a huge amount of money for me, so I was unable to throw it away. It moved around with me, getting packed and unpacked over the years, always relegated to the bottom shelf of my DVD case. 

Over the years, I heard about ways to make yoga safer and easier for beginners, so I purchased a yoga mat, a yoga brick, and a yoga strap. Still, I  never quite got around to trying it out, and the equipment lived in the darkest corner of whatever closet was least useful to me.

Then I met Husband, and became a bit of an exercise snob. Husband, a 6'4, 300 pound boxer, was into weightlifting in a big way. He followed a program called Heavy Duty, developed by a professional weightlifter named Mike Mentzer. (Check it out, it's actually a pretty cool program.) We both did Heavy Duty for a few months, until life interfered: A job change for both of us, and a move, ended up costing us our gym membership. The muscle gym we liked was just too far away, and we couldn't find another affordable one near us. Husband has free weights, and has kept up his training, mostly. I don't have the nerve to do reps to failure on free weights--I want the safety factor of a machine, so I eventually lost everything I'd gained from the program. Anyway, I told you all that, to tell you this: In my mind, strenuous exercise is hard cardio followed by Heavy Duty. Yoga? That's for skinny hippies.

So, flash forward to now, where I am very heavy and out of condition and trying to claw my way back to good health. I decided to give the yoga dvd a tryout. This particular dvd  features four people. One does straight-up yoga, one does slightly modified moves, one does slightly more modified moves, and one does VERY modified, beginners-look-here moves. Despite my assumption that yoga was an easy workout, I figured my lack of coordination and flexibility warranted a slow approach, so I did the fully modified workout.

You guys. I was so very wrong about yoga, and I apologize. Fifteen minutes in, my feet were cramping. I kept having to stop for a few seconds and wiggle my toes and flex my feel to soothe them. Twenty minutes in, and I was struggling to keep my breathing at the pace the dvd wanted. I needed MOAR AIR. At the thirty minute mark, I turned off the heater in the living room. By the end, 45 minutes later, I collapsed gratefully into the relaxation post (rolled blanket under my spine, head supported, just breathe) and seriously considered never getting up again. I was exhausted. I spent the rest of the afternoon, fighting the urge to take a nap, and finally forced myself to hit the treadmill for half an hour. That gave me enough of a boost to get through the rest of the evening, and by nine-thirty, I was ready for bed. My head hit the pillow, and that was that. I don't think I moved, let alone woke up, at any point until Husband's alarm went off.

Today, I am sore, but not in a bad way. In fact, I feel really, really good today. Still kind of tired, but good. I'm trying to decide what to do today. Part of me really wants to do the dvd again, but I'm afraid of overdoing it. I'm thinking I might just do a treadmill routine today, and do yoga tomorrow. Then again, a repeat of yesterday also sounds really appealing. I seriously cannot make up my mind here.

I also feel weirdly taller, but I think that's just from hearing the instructor talk about lengthening my muscles on every move.

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