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Diatribe on fitness and yoga

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Posted on Feb 02, 2006 at 12:29 PM Total posts: 2
I've been physically active my whole life but have only recently gotten a gym membership. It's a good club with fairly new, well maintained equipment, at least five pieces for each body part. Not including the cable and pully machines or free weights. There's also a steam room, soft water showers and of course, a friendly staff. Unfortunately,no pool. When I joined the club, I just ran on the treadmill to lose those extra pounds, but got tired with it. I have nothing against running. I've run long distance my whole life. This just wasn't making me happy. And that's what we all want, right. We do things that make us happy. I found a big site about body building on the web. All kinds of different exercises for different body parts using different equipment. Plus exercise programs, working on different body parts on different days, how many reps and how many sets of reps. The site also tells you how to stretch different areas cause stretching is just as important and the weight training. When you weight train, you're injuring your muscles. That's why your muscles hurt when you're just starting out. When they heal, they get bigger. Armed with all this information from the body building site, I made a schedule up for myself with the clubs equipment. It's maybe four or five different exercises for each body part: abs, bicep, tricep, legs, shoulders, back. It worked and I liked it for a while, but it felt like something was missing (cardio). So, I tried a couple of classes. Boot camp, 20/20/20, cycle,.. Way too hard for me. I work hard enough at my job, why would I want to volunteer for exhaustion. There had to be something that was lower impact. Yoga. Yoga's pretty simple, right. Do some stretching, some pulling, balancing, downward dog, upward dog, warrior one, warrior two. Just grab a mat and do what the yoga teachers do. At first, all I pick up on was the deep breathing (easy enough), concentrate on what your body does, forget about your outside world, align your internal organs, flatten the back and deepen the pose. I look around and see these people doing things I know I'll never do, but the teacher says, don't get discouraged or judge yourself by the other people in the class. True enough. One year later, I just can't get enough. I haven't yet started to replace body training with yoga, but can that be far behind? I hope not. I first started going to yoga for the stretching, to suppliment the weight training. But quickly found it a great stress reliever. I know my reflexes are quicker, my balance is better and my core (abs/back) is stronger. With the whole class deep breathing in unison and doing a series of postures together, plus you're concentrating on what the body is feeling as you work your muscles to their limits, can be very stimulating. Maybe its because you're competing against yourself, or you're doing poses and you know people are glancing at you (shades of exhibitionism), or you're stretching and balancing more than you thought you ever could, or a combination of all three. Now I incorporate yoga stretching into my body building exercises. And it's nice to see other people at the club doing the same, legitimizing it even more. A survey done seven years ago stated that typical yoga classes consist of 64% females and 36% males. It was a small survey with just 200 responses. A typical local class has 20 ladies and one or two men. Why is this club, city, region so unbalanced. The Yoga Now survey profiles the typical yoga practitioner as, "most likely a woman in her mid-thirties who does yoga three to five times a week, has been practicing for less than two years and believes in reincarnation. Although not a vegetarian, she watches what she eats, goes to class at a local yoga center, has never been on a retreat, and is more into physical/mental fitness than enlightenment. She thinks she's in better shape than the average American, often gets stressed or anxious, is more likely to vote than most people, and makes between $30,000 and $50,000 a year." Do you fit this profile? Any thoughts on yoga?

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