My mother suggested I wrote a post on yoga as it is “International Yoga Day” today, apparently.
So here it is:
Now, first of all, you may have noticed I love baking and eating cakes and biscuits and chocolate and cheese and crackers and I love to drink hot chocolate or Pina Coladas or whatever really that isn’t exactly the world’s health food number one. I really like eating, basically. Even though I am full right now I am thinking about food. And I am full because I ate bread with chocolate.
I also eat fruit and shit, but the majority of my food intake (by choice) is non-healthy. It’s good that whenever I want snacks I have to go out and buy them, which I won’t do because I’m a lazy bugger.
Anyway, I have a fast metabolism (I know: Argh I hate you) so I am generally still quite skinny. It depends on just how much bad stuff I eat. People think I am sporty. But I am not. I just look like I am. Which is better than nothing, I suppose.
In school sports (PE), I would be the kid with either no ball access or the ball to the head. I once was short enough to – when playing basketball – sneak out from underneath a group of five people surrounding me. I just bounced the ball and ducked and they didn’t even notice. It was like in one of those comics where you crawl out from under a bar fight. But that was in fifth grade before my minor growth spurt and I became approximately the same size as every other small person I’ve ever met (okay, not every small person).
So, not being the most popular girl to pick for your sports team, I generally didn’t really get excited about sports.
I ran around the place and went for walks and bike rides. But I didn’t join a club because that’s what sporty people do, which I am not.
I was right that it would not go well. At 15 I joined a fencing club. Fencing is, to this day, one ofmy favourite sports to watch – well, the foil fencing,
not so much with a sabre, which looks more like a premature ejaculation when done professionally. I tried my best. We did the exercises, the stretches, we fought for three minutes at a time and we put on those silly helmets where you can’t see out of. It was fun for a bit, but I could tell I was not as good as everybody else and my ambitions lessened. Anyway we moved countries soon after, but I am not sure how long I would have stuck with it even so.
I think the problem with people like me – who are not naturally a sports enthusiast and when confronted with the choice: Do I cycle or do I take the bus? they will choose the bus, obviously – is that we need a little more than self-made motivation. If I have the choice between an apple and a bar of chocolate, guess what I am going to go for?
But in this house I generally have the choice between going to the shop or staying hungry.
So, finally, this is where the yoga part comes in.
Every sport generally has the property that you need to build up your ability. For fencing I had to train to persevere during a fight (three minutes can feel like a long time) and stretch and learn the steps and all and generally you fail a couple of times before you win (I always lost…). With Yoga it was similar, but different – and easier.
Hereby I am not saying that yoga is easy. It can get very, very hard and tangled and all, but I think it is easier to get into.
I often have problems with my back and shoulders and therefore my arms and hands. This was also often a problem during fencing, that I’d get so tense in my back and arms, that eventually I could not hold my weapon. I remember my hand hanging there like a dead thing, just about gripping onto the downward facing sabre (which is a lot heavier than a foil) and my trainer (one of them, the lesser preferred one) shouting at me as to why I was holding my weapon like that.
I couldn’t really tell him, but I have always had that problem in some way or another.
So, in hopes of improving my back and arms and shoulders and improving my posture, which surely has something to do with the tensions in my back, and my flexibility, I took up yoga.
Now I am not going to say my life changed miraculously.
As I said I didn’t really like group classes I went online and looked for basic yoga videos. Something like: “Yoga for complete beginners” or “Really easy yoga”. And these kind of things do exist. It’s the internet, after all. You can get just about anything on the internet – except for really cool Captain America pyjamas for women that cover you entire legs and arms and have red socks and a hood with little wings and the shield as a cushion. The only thing I could find were boxer shorts or pyjamas for little boys or t-shirts for men or super sexist lingerie for women. NO. I want the real deal. Anyway.
So I started watching and practicing to those videos and I thought, well, this isn’t so bad. When practicing via the internet you have to be careful that you don’t over-do it. It is probably best to do it with an actual, present instructor. I can imagine someone practicing yoga at home by themselves in front of their computer and paralyzing themselves, trying to do a twist.
But for now I am sticking to the easier poses and slowly I got into it.
I did yoga on and off for a few months, I wanted to return to it because it made me feel more energetic in general. It made me want to cycle places, go swimming and eat healthier. I think it is generally about living more consciously.
But it wasn’t until I found a particular online yoga instructor that I actually started practicing regularly for several weeks (and then it got really hot and I tend not to move when it is too hot). Her name is Adriene and she does, who knew, “Yoga with Adriene” online. I found her on YouTube.
or her website: http://yogawithadriene.com/
What I often found with other online instructors is that I hated their way of speaking to me. It did not help me relax. When they told me to breathe I wanted to tell them to shut the bleep up. And the whole point of yoga is that you can relax and give in to the sensations that yoga can cause.
Also, she manages to create a balance between just conscious movement and stretching/fitness. Except for specific “work-out” videos, I do not feel any pressure to improve or push myself. I can just go with it.
I also just found out she is an actress. Interesting^^
Anyway what I like about her is her voice and her calm and in no way infuriating way of speaking, her random comments during practice and the fact she seems to actually believe in what she is saying.
When I move to Switzerland I am hoping to join a proper beginners yoga class. I feel confident enough as I have given myself a bit of a head-start. But I will have to see whether or not I’ll want to punch the teacher.
But either way yoga has actually already had an impact, since it is something I enjoy doing and it is not just something I feel like I have to do because I am not good enough. Of course this is all personal and subjective and surely some people practice yoga out of pure and vicious ambition. But it makes me want to do more. I am thinking about going climbing too (inside, on a wall that does not move) as well as doing yoga. The uni offers loads of different sports. I just might not have time for them all, because I want to get a job, join a drama group and, obviously, go to uni. We shall see.
So that was my yoga post. Stay flexy 🙂
Oh, and just to show you what I mean by premature ejaculation, this is a video from the London Olympics 2012, sabre fencing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igiSBcXudgc
And in comparison, foil fencing, which looks a lot more like dancing (you may want to skip forward, I could not find a short clip) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0tJNoaZZzo