Just When You Think You’re Good at Yoga

I was at yoga today and the instructor led us in a completely different routine than I was expecting.  The poses were all out of order and she did some that were completely new to me, and that I had trouble with because of my hamstring injury.  I got irritated, which isn’t the purpose of yoga, OBVIOUSLY.   Also, her core exercises were really hard, and that pissed me off too.  I went to that class looking for a Friday Zen, and instead, I was reminded about how much work I have to do.  In retrospect, that class reminded me that one mustn’t rest on one’s laurels.  I was thinking I was getting pretty good at this Yoga Stuff.  Then, I got reminded, that sure, I can do the regular Moksha sequence, but there is WAY MORE OUT THERE to learn.

The instructor also said that if you’re going to yoga just for fitness or to get a ‘yoga body’ then you should think twice, and expand your reasons. There’s a lot more to be gained, even more than having a legit reason to stock up on Lululemons.  For example there’s the insight into myself I learned today, which is that I THINK I’m really easygoing and adaptable, but I’m ACTUALLY a creature of habit.  Also, I discovered that not being able to do the poses she presented made me mad.  Since I finally found an athletic pursuit I as good at, I forgot what it’s like to be a beginner.  It was good be reminded (since I’ve never actually been good at a sport before), that I’m never really more than a beginner at the next level of my development

It’s funny that this happened to me the day after I read this article Adam Levine and his philosophy and reasons for doing yoga exclusively to any other ‘fitness’ activities.  He talks about the physical and mental benefits that he’s gained, and they are ones that I’d like to achieve also, but only if I take my practice to the next level.

Adam Levin: One hot yogi

Adam agrees and disagrees with my instructor.

He said, ‘”I don’t like how people bullshit about how yoga is not about vanity.” Not that he doesn’t appreciate the spiritual benefits—Levine sees his routines as a therapeutic antidote to the distortions of his career. “Playing a show before thousands of people is a highly unnatural state,” he says, “and when I get on the mat to do an hour of yoga before the show, I come out physically relaxed.”

My favourite thing he said, which I totally identified with, when talking about how his gym routine was a dead end, was:

“Weights made my neck thick, and I would be like, ‘I’m turning into a monster!’ Yoga takes what you have and molds and sculpts it, which is a much more natural way to look and feel.”

I totally agree with that.  I used to work out 2 hrs a day. But, it was boring.  And I was trying to turn my body into something its not.  As I get older (and yes, I’m well into the Cougar years), I want to look like me, only AWESOME:  lean, and fit, and strong, and confident.

That’s why I do yoga now.  And, I should thank the instructor today for reminding me that if I want to get better, I need to keep going out of my comfort zone.  Or else, I’ll never be able to do this:

Adam Levine: One-Legged Koundinyasana II:

Enjoy this little yogic musical interlude.