Yoga became popular in the UK in the 80’s as a form of exercise although it has been around as a spiritual practice in India for hundreds of years.
I didn’t know much about yoga or what it entailed until last week. And, other than a few months or maybe even a year of weekly aerobic classes when I was 15 I haven’t taken ANY form of exercise class since then… Not a single one… I don’t know what Pilates is… I think Zumba is some kind of modern day aerobics and I had never been to yoga…
Well, this has now changed! A combination of a desire to try new things this year together with my attempts towards a fitter and healthier start to my new decade stirred an interest in trying yoga. Of course this is old news to many people… When discussing this at work just before Christmas it turned out that most of the people I work with have tried or still practice yoga. This conversation happened to take place after work in one of the outdoor bars along London’s South Bank which led to an impromptu and somewhat drunken display of yoga moves by one of my 6 ft male colleagues!
So with one of my 50@50’s being to try yoga, I took the opportunity while on holiday in the Maldives where our hotel offered a free 50 minute yoga session each morning! What a place to start doing yoga… I felt immediately relaxed in the serene environment as I sat on my yoga mat on the soft powdery sand with the sounds of the gently lapping sea in the background.
Each morning the instructor took the small group of 10 or so through the initial relaxation and breathing exercises before the more complex series of stretches. Stretching muscles that have possibly never been stretched before! Literally tying my upper body in knots with him giving my arms an extra pull just to make sure!
I can certainly say I felt incredibly relaxed at the end of each session and I’m keen to do more. Being strong, fit and supple throughout life and particularly as you get older is important.
Compared with others even though I am almost 50 I was pleased I am still fairly bendy and supple as, for example, I could diagonally interlock my hands behind back where many others couldn’t reach.
However my stomach muscles need toning big time! I was one of the worst of the group with the stomach moves. For example, laying on my back and lifting and holding my feet at 6 inches above the ground then at 75 degrees was tough! This is something I am keen to improve.
And also I found my balance is rubbish… I toppled over the most when we did standing up stretches… I’ve noticed problems with my balance when trekking along narrow ridges so I wonder if I practice each day if this would help my trekking too?
So all in all a very positive new experience!