Irfananta: Thoughts on Day Two of Yoga

I’ve been undergoing physiotherapy for the past month and a half for a couple of chronic injuries, the one work-related (rotator cuff syndrome due to overuse of the computer mouse) and the other sports-related (calcaneal spur due to heel-abusive running). The good doctor has managed to get me to 75% better so far (bless him) and is working even harder to take me to the finishing line (more power to him).

Apart from the exercises, he has also been “educating” me – in his opinion, the biggest part of getting better. This “education” has meant me making seminal changes, such as changing the way I sit and stand; taking breathers and doing simple exercises between work; investing in shoes that “lock my heel”; and most critically, taking up (for/from now) sports/activities that don’t abuse my shoulder and heels. The last has meant that I now go walking (instead of running), go walking at least 50% of the time on even surfaces (the road in a park compared with the road on, well, the road), adding cycling to my regime (as it does not intensely involve the heel), and considering taking up yoga.

Yoga seemed especially attractive as it is known to offer physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. So, I scoured my neighbourhood for yoga studios and finally decided on one that was close enough and offered the gamut (asanas, pranayama, meditation). They were offering three trial classes, and I decided to take these up, although I was sure “I would 99% likely sign up before going through all the trial classes.

Below are my thoughts on Day Two of the trial classes.

You’re skidding me

You know that yoga mats have one side as anti-skid. This is the bottom one, so that you, um, don’t skid especially when trying a treacherous, er, tricky asana. (The other side typically has the brand logo, and is meant to go on top, um, for you to sit on.) Methinks they should make both sides anti-skid. I had sweat dripping and dropping from my forehead (despite having a headband) onto the mat as well as awash on my palms, preventing me from getting a grasp on the mat and thus executing any asana that needed me to place my palms on the mat. So, pretty much all of them. And I wasn’t even doing hot yoga.

Caveat yogi

If the makers can’t both make sides anti-skid, the studio guys better add a ‘Let the yogi beware’ clause during their registration process. Else, the injury count, and thus the insurance claim, from people slipping and falling during these asanas is seriously going to dent the profits they are eyeing.

No animals, or objects, were hurt in the making of these asanas

There’s a simple reason why so many asanas are named after animals: only animals can do them. Only the cobra can make the perfect arc of the bhujangasana, and only the camel can throw its neck that far back as in the ushtrasana. If the human body were meant to go through these twists and twirls, we would have been given as many limbs, or none at all (lucky snakes). Actually, it’s not just animals. There’s also non-living things, such as the plow/plough, which inspires halasana, and the sun, which begets the surya namaskar. See, both were designed for those angles, the one by man and the other by the Good Lord. And how can I compete with a creation of God?


From yoga… to noga

The class ends, I’m a bag of sweat, my body feels more kneaded than dough, my muscles are weeping, I step out, and the owner asks me, “So, have you been able to decide (whether you’re joining after taking two trial classes)?

Here’s what I told her: “I’ll check with my therapist and get back to you.

Here’s what I’m telling you: No. No way. Not at all. Well, ok, at least not now.

It is abso right when they say that no matter how much exercise you have done before this, yoga reveals (exposes) how inflexible you really are. Now, I don’t mind my frailty being exposed (then, I wouldn’t have blogged this post), but I realised this – yoga might prepare me for awesome things (suppleness, energy, calm), but I need to prepare myself for yoga. So, I’ll take it up again/properly when I’m better prepared. And how do I plan to do that? Well, there’s an indication of that in my next (upcoming) post.

PS: My thoughts on Day One of the trial classes? Well, if it wasn’t already clear: Yoga 1, Me 0.


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