Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Reviving Yoga

Following a lengthy but unintended break from yoga practice, I went back a week ago, this time to power yoga. What a shock.....

Power yoga is a corruption of ashtanga yoga, a high-energy, fast moving, hot and sweaty routine, concentrating on strength, balance and breathing. Since my climbing has been picking up a bit I thought I would probably be fit enough to cope, although I knew the class itself would be hard work and the recovery would probably take a full week.

Caroline took these pics at North Berwick last summer. I don't know what this position is called, but once you understand the balance required, it isn't as hard as it looks.

After the first class, I felt as though I had been pummelled and beaten, stretched and twisted. I was left physically destroyed but mentally alert, a very strange feeling, where sleep ought to come easily but doesn't. My class was on Tuesday. On Wednesday I didn't feel as achey as I expected, but then I spent most of the day straight-jacketed in a formal meeting. By Thursday I felt about 90 years old, almost hobbling as my hips and those big ligaments that hold your legs onto your body (adductors??) seized up. By Friday I could climb again, and by Sunday I could touch my toes without too much pain, something which is usually fairly uneventful for me.

Warrior A

This week's class seemed harder, although I felt more capable in some respects. Recovery is so far going well. Debbie, who took the class this week, is now retired from climbing owing to a shoulder problem. One of the hardest aspects of the class was holding a low press-up for 10 breaths. I really struggled with it, despite the fact that I can do plenty of chin ups (note to self, I don't know how many I can do now! Must count....). Debbie pointed out that climbers are used to hanging from things rather than pushing up from things. That seemed like a very plausible explanation for apparently having no problem in pulling my bodyweight up from a hanging position, but struggling to push my bodyweight up. Clearly I need to do some more press-ups and improve my core strength.

I had forgotten how invigorating yoga can be. The oxygen intake does wonders, although it doesn't help me sleep! I'm sure that with perseverence and more practice, I will regain the ability to walk home after my class, and will be able to touch my toes without pain the morning after.