–by G.K. Sydney (photos and column)
Ok, what next for this column, you say? What is she going on about this time? Yoga? Huh. That’s pretty normal. Well, that’s very true, but maybe you won’t be ready for this perspective. Because today I’m going to give you the truth, yup, the real truth (always allowing for possible slight exaggeration) about the practice of yoga as seen through my eyes and felt by my body. Get ready.
While yoga has been proven to be very helpful in many ways and I have definitely found it to be incredibly beneficial for me, along the way I seem to have made an interesting discovery. Apparently, for me, there is a huge difference in the enjoyment level that I experience from my yoga that is dependant upon the time of day. That’s right, the time. Not so much WHAT I’m doing but WHEN I’m doing it. Here’s what I mean.
In order to understand this, you have to know that I am probably the world’s best example of not-a-morning-person. I really don’t like to move too much when I get up, I creak and groan and stay totally unsociable until halfway through the second cup. Those mugs that say “don’t speak yet”. “almost there” and “ok, you can talk now” were made for me. Therefore, yoga in the evening works better. By evening, I’ve moved all day, I’ve stretched a bit with the things I’ve been doing, I’m feeling limber and ready to lay down, get in the zone and do it, baby. By then, I want to pull, bend, twist, strrrrretch, move up, move down, relax in a pose that turns me inside out or upside down and pulls every muscle to the max. I’m ready to do things that stretch the limits because, what the heck, I’ve been tense all day and, I’m thinking throughout the class, I can go home and go right to bed after this torture (I mean…practice). So…yes, yoga in the evening is a fabulous thing.
But, in this town and everywhere, I would think, there’s yoga in the morning. Yes, yoga in the morning. Imagine. But because I seriously love yoga as a form of exercise, and because I need to stretch badly, I go. I drag myself out of bed, get into the outfit while trying to minimize the aches, grab the yoga mat, pat down my hair and hit the studio.
Now you would think that, because I already did some yoga in the evening this week, and because I am relatively fit to start with, and because I am doing this voluntarily and without coercion of any kind, that yoga in the morning would be ok. But no.
The first warm-ups hurt a lot. It’s not that we don’t have expert, thoughtful instruction and fabulous yoga teachers, it’s just that I’m so creaky! Geez, that left side is tight today. No, maybe it’s the right side; why am I starting to seize up over there? Omigod that knee won’t bend, what does she mean, twist some more? Does she think I’m a pretzel? An octopus? Funny, this stuff didn’t hurt in the evening class.
And then there are the downward dogs. IN THE MORNING. Holy crap, how many of these do we have to do anyway? And plank? Is she serious? In the evening I can do endless dogward dog, plank, upward something, sun salutation, down dog, plank, yada, yada, yada. But now? Who does this to themselves at this time of day?
But stopping is not on the agenda. Now we are into the triangles and twists and leg raises and lunges and, and, and. One after another, one leading into the next, back twist, wrist contortion, lumbar lunacy – what next? Balance on your forearms, go ahead, start now. Lift your leg to the ceiling, balance for an hour (I’m sure that’s at least how long it is), change legs, do it again! Raise your arms, lower your arms, backbend, side bend, forward bend, aghhhhhhhh!!
Well. That’s yoga in the morning.
But, amazingly enough, after about the first half of the class, it starts to get better. I get warm, my muscles quit screaming and a strange sort of calm sets in. All those aches, all that pain and tightness gradually disappear. It’s some sort of miracle for sure. The yoga gods have arrived and my muscles are starting to act like a well-oiled machine. Slowly, I enter the zone. I can do this. It’s starting to feel like yoga in the evening or the afternoon and I’m actually feeling good. Right on, go for it. Down dog, here I come. Plank, not as much of a problem. Twist away, it’s all good. Ah, wait, did she just say “lay on your back”? “Get ready to do your final relaxation”? “Relax your mind, your body, your breath.”? She did. Ahhhhhh…..
What a relief. I put on my socks, lay down and let my tingling muscles relax into the floor. I reflect on the class and realize I actually am still alive and able to function, even though it’s still before noon. I guess I knew I could do it all along and the morning aches are just a dim memory. I feel great, I’m ready for the day and I LOVE yoga.
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