Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Not so yogatastic

So, Wednesdays are my yoga/pilates class day. I have a special fondness for my yoga/pilates class. It was the first sort of exercise-y sort of thing that I did actually tried to do on a regular basis. I had occasionally went to the gym after school, but mostly not. But after getting really annoyed about what a stressed out person I was, I was willing to try anything, including the yoga/pilates thing that people said helped. It actually worked, in a way, though I'm still stressed out. Going in and doing an hour class once a week without really changing any of your other habits isn't going to do squat. But it did help me talk myself into changing my other habits.

One day I went to the gym after classes on a Tuesday and did the elliptical and some of the weight machines, and found out the next day I did loads better in the class than I did on the days where I didn't go to the gym. So, I won't say that it became a habit but I was more likely to work out the day before.

I also had a hard time, in good conscious, eating a greasy breakfast at the commuter cafeteria after struggling through down dogs and planks, so that kind of encouraged me to eat well, on one day a week, at least.

But once I really did get serious about living differently, even if I couldn't talk myself into doing some exercise at least every day, I made sure I'd exercise at least on Tuesdays, so I could do better on Wednesdays.

I really respected the instructor, as well. She is a woman who is pretty much the antithesis of the perky little yoga instructor. She's friendly enough, and was the first instructor of any exercise class that I took that got right off the bat that the last thing I wanted was an instructor standing over me and telling me I'm doing it wrong. Huh. Imagine that. The very nonathletic person not wanting be the center of attention by the instructor drawing attention to to how nonathletic they are. And as far as the perky yoga instructor stereotype, she is five foot ten, is a former smoker, and while not a senior citizen, has a couple of grandchildren. If you saw her on the street you wouldn't peg her as a yoga instructor.

She was very encouraging, suggesting that I try another class, but I never did, because I did have experiences with instructors who were perky aerobics instructors who it seemed like went out of their way to make me feel hideously awkward and nonathletic. But one day she told me she was subbing for another teacher in the kickboxing class if I wanted to try it out. I tried it out, and that's how I gradually got hooked into getting up at five am nearly every weekday morning for no other reason to exercise.

The more I exercised, the more I did better at yoga/pilates, and the better I did, the better I wanted to do. The more weight I lost, the better I did. Probably because there was less of my body in the way and less weight to hold up in poses. And this is after fifteen pounds, not even 10% of my body weight.

Losing weight and being healthier was great, but doing yoga and pilates and finding I was getting better at it was the first measure of progress that I noticed. It was nearly immediate. I didn't have to wait to notice new muscles, I didn't have to wait to go down a jeans size, and I didn't have to look at the scale to see progress. I was eating better and I was exercising, and I only had to wait until Wednesday to see the proof.

Yoga isn't for everyone. I'm actually still not sure whether or not if it is for me, especially if I tried one of those hard core classes instead of the standard beginnerish one they offer at the Y. But even if I'm not yogatastic, yoga has helped me. Maybe in other circumstances, I'd have found something else that would have encouraged me like yoga did. But I'm really glad that I found something.

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