Wednesday, July 20, 2016

6 months of Bikram Yoga

This is a posting I would not have imagined I would ever be writing if you had asked me a little over 6 months ago. but, if there is one thing that is certain in this life it is change. Some are positive some are negative. Some are by choice and others times change blindsides you. I am happy to say this one was by choice and definitely has been a positive.

 About a year ago Laura began taking classes and fell in love with it. Everyday I would see here posting about it and it soon became obvious that she was committed to it and showing the same hard work and dedication that she puts into everything. Still, I had no desire to join in. I had dabbled in some yoga over the years , first being introduced to it while in high school. Although I have always been a believer in the benefits I just never was able to be consistent with it and would soon loose interest.   As far as hot yoga, I really had no interest in that. I took one hot flow class about three years ago and that was more than enough for me.

  Laura continued to go on a daily basis and practice more at home and I was amazed to see how rapidly she was improving. So after many invitations to join her I finally agreed to give it a shot on January 7th after once again having to take time off from running due to another hip issue.

  My goal for that first class was to just stay in the room for the full 90 minutes without passing out in the heat. Most classes are at least 105F and I think everyone knows I hate being hot !

 That first class was tough but I made it through and felt quite a sense of accomplishment. Everyone was encouraging and Laura was raving about how well I did. She is so nice to me like that.  It was obvious to me that I had a whole world of improvement to make but strangely enough I enjoyed it enough to go back for more. After all , I couldn't run so I may as well get in a workout and enjoy some time with Laura since we couldn't run together.

 I was able to make it to quite a few classes over the next two weeks trial period and by then I was committed to sticking with it as I was already beginning to notice some positive changes.  After the first month the new challenge became how to keep up a regular practice while returning to running again.  No matter what, running is and will always be my top priority for my workout time.

  Fortunately with a flexible schedule I have been able to maintain both while making it to at least 3 or 4 classes a week and my running has continued to improve. As long as I stay on top of hydration the yoga is a all a positive.

 One of the first benefits I noticed once I began was a slight increase in my stride and my feet were getting stronger. I used to have some soreness and tightness in the hip flexors but that is now non-existent. I have certainly see some increases in flexibility in some areas but I have so far to go. After 40 years of running and spending nearly 2 million miles driving during that time this old body was in need of some work !

 I think the biggest benefit though has been with my posture and the strength in my spine and  back. although I didn't have the worst posture in the world I certainly needed some work done. since I became aware of it I had done some exercises that did make some improvements but i still had to think about it or I would be slumping again. and then about 2 months ago I noticed  that it just felt natural now to be standing up straight. It's just there now and locked in. I have had several people say that I look taller. I can assure you I have not grown but with my stronger spine and core I am using my full height.

 I have progressed quite a bit with some of the postures but in others I sometimes wonder if I will ever get any better but then just when I start to get discouraged, a small breakthrough will occur.
 I hope and plan to continue for many years to come.

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