Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yoga - not just the latest fad

A while ago I noticed that the number of clothes I could fit into was reducing dramatically…till I was able to only fit into clothes I bought recently. Not a good place to be! My few attempts to solve this problem were futile.

However, when a colleague decided to join yoga classes, I said enough is enough – I shall follow.

Many have advised that if I wake up at a said time for a few days, my body clock will adjust itself and I will be able to wake up at the exact time every morning thereafter without hassles. I guess my body clock doesn’t have an alarm. Blessed are you people who witness the sun rise every morning. I prefer the sunsets (I believe this to be true since I have not seen many sunrises).

Yoga, many people such as myself believe is a very relaxing form of exercise, so the first day was quite an eye-opener. This was power yoga – and no, that does not mean a kick-boxing version of yoga, it just means a whole bunch of yoga routines in fast forward that leave you breathless. For the next three days, I was walking without bending, turning or stressing any part of my body!

Once I got over the initial aches and pains, and was just barely able to keep up with the 50 year old lady in the class, it started feeling good.

The class usually starts with surya namaskar, which is a series of positions that alternately stretch the spine backwards and forwards. It utilizes almost 95 to 97 percent of your muscles compared to the 35 to 40 percent that we would use in a normal day. On your first day, it would be good if you could do one set – do not get disheartened by people claiming to do 101 sets at a go. You will get there eventually, but even if you don’t, 10 to 20 sets a day will keep you fit for a lifetime even if you do no other form of strenuous activity.

The focus is on balance and breathing, then comes the strength and stamina and flexibility and weight loss and the glowing skin (true fact!).

If you have ever gone for a Yoga class, you will identify with my love for the last part of the class – the savasana. It is when you lie on your back and in the name of good health, go to sleep. And oh! What Bliss!

It has been just over a month since I have been doing yoga, and although I still cannot keep up with the 50 year old lady, I am getting there. I have not lost much weight or inches so far, but my guess is that’s because the weight loss with yoga is slow but steady, which is how it should be. So, I keep myself going and motivate myself to wake up every morning by imagining all the clothes I will fit into very soon.