Yoga, how hard can it possibly be?
How many guys have thought that i wondered, knowing that 5 years ago i made the same mistake when asked ‘want to take a yoga class with me Andy?’.
I was in Sydney at the time, around 5 years ago. I hadn’t trained for 2 years, i definitely was a long, long way from being in anything that could be called ‘shape’, and a female friend ( who was a very experienced and pretty successful dancer ) asked me the above question. She wanted me to go to a bikram yoga class somewhere in the city, she explained what it was but added ‘be warned, it’s tough..’ to which i replied ‘Jackie please.. how hard can it be?’.
‘Don’t wear much’ she said.
Cocksure, overly confident Andy turned up in pretty heavy sweatpants and if i recall a light t shirt or something.
Holy moly was that a mistake, both the sweatpants and the confidence.
After 45 minutes being in what felt like the temperature of the sun my water bottle was long consumed, and i had no choice but to lay motionless on my mat in a pile of sweat, defeat, and delicious humble pie.
5 years on and i’m in Stockholm when my friend asks me if i want to take a weekend yoga course with him.
Knowing how hard it was, but also a lot more about health and training nowadays i accepted the challenge.
Stretching after training isn’t my thing, i hate it, it hurts too much and i’m always too tired to muster the energy or the willpower to give it any more than a few half hearted, almost pointless minutes doing it. I know i should do it, but i just can’t bring myself to give it the effort it deserves so i thought a weekend course of pure stretching would do me the world of good, plus i might even enjoy it.
We turn up to Yogayama in Östermalm for the weekend course in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga and get ourselves ready for the challenge by drinking the complimentary herbal tea which was absolutely on point.
The teacher, David Fredriksson was extremely likeable, knowledgeable, dedicated, but the man was a sadist, or so one would think haha! What he could do with his body was incredible, and the ease he could do it was as impressive as it was sickening. Yes i can deadlift two and a half times my bodyweight, but can i support my own bodyweight in what looks a reasonably ease position for a few seconds? Not very well, or very easily, and as it turns out not long enough either.
This style of yoga was extremely demanding, it was created 5000 years ago in India and for something to be that old must and yet still practiced must mean something! I instantly noticed how David who was half my bodyweight had triceps twice the size of mine. At 40 odd years of age he was as lean as a grass snake, but as strong as an ox, as well as being able to tie himself in knots before moving what looked effortlessly into a different and equally mind boggling position.
The key to Ashtanga yoga he said was breathing, but the amount i was fighting to catch a breath after a while you’d think i’d have been doing sprint training vs Usain Bolt.
Even the very first poses, the morning salutations if i’m not mistaken were immediately extremely taxing after luring you into a false sense of security by starting off very relaxing and soothingly. After the initial soothing gestures you’re told to get into a position touching your toes and for the newcomer it is extremely tough, especially to hold the position whilst all the time remembering your breathing and holding your stomach in!
Another big part of this style of yoga is the mindfulness and medational state you have to get yourself into, i can 100% guarantee whatever is on your mind 24/7 before you take this class won’t enter your mind for the duration of the class, nor for some time after. It is wonderful escapism and i can instantly see why people get so hooked, and also get in such good shape / condition if they stick to it.
The teacher was adamant that anyone of any age, ability, shape, experience was very welcome and i can put my seal of approval on anyone giving this a try.
you can visit the website at http://www.yogayama.se and i highly recommend that you do!