Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yoga Is Not Relaxing

I spent a couple years living in Boulder, Colorado. In Boulder, apparently it was a normal thing for stores to offer yoga classes every so often. Even Fleet Feet Boulder, the running store that sponsored my team, had yoga classes, and they're a running and tri store, not a yoga store. Well, since they all knew me and I didn't want to make a fool out of myself in front of them (and because I had zero interest in yoga), I never went to their classes. The whole time I was in Boulder, people continued to tell me how relaxing yoga is. My friends Stefani and Elizabeth were convinced that hot yoga was the most relaxing, purifying, and soothing thing ever, and they seemed determined to convince me of the same thing. Well, anyway, hot yoga was out. I hate running in really hot temperatures, so why would I want to practice yoga in hot temperatures when I had the option to practice yoga in normal temperatures (or not practice yoga at all)? However, these were the same girls who got me mountain biking and snowboarding and I liked those things, so I figured I'd give it a try. They convinced me to go to a store class at the shop where Stef worked. I spent most of the class trying not to fall over. Not relaxing. Later, I rented a house with Stef and Susanna, another yoga fan, and I often got to hear about how relaxing and soothing yoga was, and how that one class was a poor example because the instructor was a different instructor than usual and had made us do advanced balance poses. They said this as they stood on one leg with their arms in the air, or as they balanced on their head and hands with their legs folded pretzel-like on one of their elbows. Uh huh, that doesn't look relaxing.

When I moved back to Pennsylvania, I no longer came across stores that offered yoga classes, although I did somehow get dragged to a yoga class at my alma mater when I went to visit Molly. (Let's see how many times I can get Molly's name into my blog. That way, when she makes the US Olympic Team, I can run around telling people that I lived with her in college, and if they don't believe me, they could check my blog. I do not think Molly reads this, so I guess I can say whatever I want about her in here anyway.) All I can remember about that class is that it was not relaxing. Molly later told me it was power yoga or something like that, so it was supposed to be more of a strength workout. Knowing that, I guess it wasn't really supposed to be relaxing anyway.

I forgot about yoga for another year, until PT Fran had me start doing lunge yoga poses for flexibility and balance purposes. My quads told me they weren't relaxing either. About a week later, I picked up the P90X DVDs, which feature a workout called Yoga X. One of the first things I learned was that Chaturanga is a long word for dive-bomber pushup. Nobody in their right mind would ever call a dive-bomber pushup relaxing, yet Chaturanga seems to be a really commonly used thing in yoga. After Chaturanga, we transition to Runner Pose, which would not be an efficient stance to use at the starting line since it makes your quads work harder than real running does. From there we go to Crescent Pose...quads still working. Then on to Warrior I...quads starting to burn. Warrior II...quads really starting to burn. Reverse Warrior...quads telling me to f*** myself. Then it's time to lift one leg and balance in Warrior III...crash.

Moral of the story is that yoga is not relaxing. I'm sure people enjoy it. Sometimes I'm in the mood to run fast, and I enjoy the Daniels' 12x400 at mile pace workout (yeah, it's true, I say I hate 400's, but sometimes I really crave them). But that workout is not relaxing. At all. In fact, it's a frantic workout that involves running really fast, then spending a lap knowing what's coming next, and then getting to the starting line again and BANG, off again. So while I may enjoy the 12x400 workout, it's not relaxing or soothing or anything like that. And if it's possible to dislocate your hip from doing yoga too hard (not me...someone who actually likes yoga, I believe), well then...I doubt that dislocating your hip (or explaining that to your chiropractor) is relaxing.


  1. I Hate it, But I LOVE it.

    There are things we do that we enjoy and there are things the we need to do. Maybe someday Yoga will fall into the former...

    How are your tendons?

  2. Ha ha ha ha ha. Well, the yoga people here tell me to take "gentle yoga" for the injured people. So try gentle yoga? (I haven't gotten around to it yet, but apparently it involves lots of sitting.)

  3. Yoga definitely falls into the "not fun things I should do" category. I'll settle for it eventually falling into the "I hate it, but I love it" category. :)

    Tendons still suck. Hopefully they're getting there though.

    Lots of sitting doesn't sound like it's going to rehab my tendons, and I'm not sure I want to do yoga unless it's going to be helpful. I still have doubts it's actually "gentle" though. I've had so many people tell me Chaturanga is "gentle." DIVE-BOMBER PUSHUPS AREN'T GENTLE!

  4. I tried to do yoga tonight, actually. Key word tried...


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