Saturday, July 23, 2011

I Hate Yoga, Which Makes Me Feel Like a Bad Buddhist

The only type of "yoga" I really want to do looks somewhat like this, takes place on a comfortable surface and involves a gorgeous, muscular man, preferably with an exotic foreign name.  Photo © Belovodchenko Anton.

I practiced vinyasa yoga this week at the gym because my father has friends who convinced him that yoga is the best thing ever.  This experience was interesting, although today I am really sore.  I've realized that as good as yoga is for you, I completely hate it.  Nevertheless, I'm going to keep doing it because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel that one day I might not hate it, and one day I will be physically stronger and mentally more relaxed as a result of this type of practice.

Believe it or not, one of the local courthouses used to have free yoga for lawyers and court employees.  I attended because all of my friends were there and because it was so convenient.  Plus, I worked for a non-profit and was too poor, and for that matter am still too poor, to pay for expensive exercise classes.  Yoga seemed a lot easier then, but I was also younger.  I also admit that Wai Lana Yoga is my guilty pleasure, although many times I just watch it on TV without actually doing the poses.  Wai Lana really could be the perfect soundtrack for a very relaxing nap.

So when my father started suggesting that he was going to start Bikram yoga, also called hot yoga, where the room is 95-100° F, I suggested that he first come to a vinyasa yoga, not hot, class at my gym.  My father didn't know what to wear to yoga and didn't have anything that he could wear, given my gym's ban on working out in street clothes. We stopped on the way to the gym to buy him an outfit.  He was delusional, telling me he wasn't even going to sweat during the class.  Thank goodness he didn't start off with Bikram yoga.  He might have suffered from heat stroke.

The class was perfectly nice.  All of the students and teacher were friendly, and I felt good that I wasn't the only newbie there.  The poses were very hard.  In the last few years I've definitely lost some flexibility.  Also, I  am used to 30 minute episodes of Wai Lana on TV.  It has been about four years since I did an hour of yoga, so I noticed that I didn't have the endurance I once had.  Today my abs hurt.  It is uncomfortable to sit, stand, laugh, cough and sneeze.  However, I think I'm already looking a little more toned and I feel a little stronger than I did before the class.

When we were on our way home, my father said he loved the class and wants to attend regularly.  I will attend because I know it's good for me.  Also, my father can come with me an unlimited number of times as my guest, but I must attend at the same time in order for him to visit the gym on my membership.  But really, I hated the class.  I hated the class because it was hard, because I couldn't do all of the poses, because it was an hour long, because I am out of shape, because I am lazy, because I am not super skinny and I do not own those yoga capri pants that are all the rage these days, especially with the Kardashians.  These are all just excuses, so I will attend the class again.

Why does hating yoga make me feel like a bad Buddhist?  Yoga allegedly explores and enhances the mind-body connection, which is important in Buddhist beliefs.  Yoga is supposed to be a meditative experience that strengthens us physically and mentally.  Unfortunately, I didn't feel like I could really enjoy the meditation aspect because the poses are so hard.  Some of my friends suggested that I go to an easier class, but this was a beginner's class.  I think I will have to stick with it to see if it gets better.  Besides, doing yoga regularly is one of my 43 Things.

Posted as part of Best posts of the Week.


Scarlet said...

My son recently discovered yoga, and now wants to study full time to get his yoga certification. He loves the meditation aspect of it, as well as the health benefits ~

Its great that you and your Dad are doing this together ~

Mama Zen said...

I despise yoga. Despise it. But, I feel guilty about feeling that way. Yeah, aren't I suppose to like this?

KalpanaS said...

In the West/contemporary thinking, Yoga has become associated with just one aspect 'asana' - has been contorted into just a form of physical exercise.
You can find some useful links on my yoga blog and if you like leave a comment,question - so that I can help you 'love' yoga.