My body is in constant agony.
A slave to an office job, I spend up to and over 60 hours a week sitting on my backside, hunched over my desk. I wake up every morning with aching shoulders, tight hammies and a sore bottom. I am only 26 years old, but often, I feel ancient.
We are obviously not engineered to sit around all day, contrary to where our modern lifestyles have led us. I don’t know about you, but I live in constant fear of the lasting damage that I’m causing myself, through my inadvertently lazy lifestyle.
Now that I’m more or less settled in London, I decided that I would spend sometime nurturing my poor, abused body. So I logged onto the interwebz and had a bit of a surf around, on a mission to find a yoga place that was nearby and relatively cheap.
I found one that was within walking distance and had a 14 day trial deal. I then dilly-dallied for a few days, thinking up every reason under the sun as to why I shouldn’t sign up – not enough spare time, frightened, don’t want to spend the money, blah blah, usual rubbish. In the end, I leapt on the computer first thing after waking, paid the money and signed up to a class that very day. LC: 1. LC’s mind: 0.
Yoga and I have had a love/hate relationship over the years. The last time I got fairly involved with it was around 18 months ago. I was feeling stellar and could even touch my toes, a feat I hadn’t been able to pull off since childhood. Then in one class, an old injury got aggravated and I ended up on crutches for a week. Not only did it hurt a lot; I had to pull out of the “Five” concert I had bought tickets to, as well as have the following exchange on multiple occasions with my friends, colleagues and peers:
“How did you hurt yourself?”
“No, really how?”
“But… yoga? Isn’t that supposed to be good for you?”
I turned up halfheartedly to a few classes after I recovered, mainly because I’d already paid for them as I’d completely lost the drive to do it. More than a year on, all had been forgiven and I was ready to give our relationship another go.
I decided I would start off with Yin yoga – a form of yoga which is less full on, where you hold poses for longer and there is more of an emphasis on the meditative side of the practice.
I got to the place I had selected and was immediately enamoured with it; it was situated in a funky old warehouse-type building that had a bar downstairs. The studio itself was open and friendly – adorned with fairy lights and cut outs of various dogs, propped up by the windows.
I took off my ten thousand layers, selected a mat and sat down, waiting for the class to start. We started with a simple breathing exercise; as a chronic sufferer of hay fever, I almost passed out from lack of oxygen, when told to breathe simply from the right side of my nose. Then the good stuff began; we moved steadily through each position, holding each to the point where I would think I could simply take no more, when we were allowed to move out of the pose. Sometimes we got to have a little lie down in between, which I wholly appreciated.
Yin isn’t too taxing, but I was admittedly worried about how stiff my body would be. I didn’t find it as hard as I had anticipated. I could do most of the positions – there were only one or two I had issues with maintaining for a prolonged amount of time.
Most importantly, my body felt so good afterwards. Looser, less constricted. The pain in my shoulders, hammies and bottom which has been plaguing me for weeks now has diminished somewhat.
The next day, riding the high of my success, I ventured back to the studio. I had slept through the morning’s beginner class, (I am not a beginner technically but the state of my poor body claims otherwise) so I decided I would instead try one that was intriguingly simply entitled “Rocket”.
It was agony. The instructor was quick to move through the positions. I could successfully move into about 35% off them. By the end of the class, a gruelling hour and a half later, I was dripping with sweat but jubilant; although I was indeed as unfit as I had suspected, I had pulled off my first real workout in over six months. I knew I would hunger for more.
I was on the hunt for a new (or in this case old) hobby and I can say without a doubt, I’ll be aiming to go now at regular intervals… work and travel permitting.
I’m just aiming for balance. I think this might be the Yin, to my yang.