I am normally pretty comfortable at the gym. I have gone to the same gym since it opened, so I pretty much know where everything is and am used to seeing familiar faces the moment I walk in. Even most of the workouts are fairly “comfortable.” I am not using comfortable interchangeably with easy, just saying that we (mostly) do a lot of the same exercises and I typically have at least an idea of what to expect on any given day.
Today I threw all of that to the wind. I agreed to meet a friend at a different gym location to take a yoga class. If you know me, you know that I do not do yoga. Nothing against yoga, but it is just not me. I am not a particularly relaxed or patient person, so slow movements for an hour is pretty much torture for me. Add to that that as someone that mostly lifts heavy weight and runs, my flexibility is lacking so to say I struggle with some yoga poses is a big understatement. If you are a yogi, you are probably thinking “All of that is exactly why she does need to do yoga!” And I agree. So I tried.
It was strange from the moment I walked into the gym. I workout at Lifetime Fitness and most of their locations look pretty much the same. This one is almost identical to my gym but I didn’t recognize anyone. Definitely a strange feeling! It was nice to see a familiar face when I ran into my friend in the locker room. We headed up to the yoga studio and set up our stuff. I somehow missed the memo that this was a “warrior sculpt” class and there would be weights and cardio involved. Normally I would have been all “hurray!!!!” but this is technically my rest day. I have been beaten up this week and needed the rest. The weights available for this class were 3 lbs. I am honestly not sure I have touched a 3 lb. weight in my life, but willingly took them since this is “rest day” and I had no idea what I was getting myself into with yoga with weights. I must say that the lifter in me was kind of freaking out over having “baby weights” though!
The class started and it was definitely not the same as any yoga class I have been in. This class moved fast! A lot of the poses reminded me in a hurry of just how sore and beat up my body is. I even found some areas I didn’t know were sore before the class. One bright point for me was realizing that I could get my heels a lot closer to the ground on downward dog than last time I attempted yoga (many months ago). I have been trying to stretch regularly after workouts, so it was nice to see it may have actually done something. (And if you are a yogi, please don’t laugh too hard about my heels only being “almost” down. I fully realize how pathetic this is!) I decided to act like a newbie and do the “easy” version of the cardio components of the class since I was supposed to be resting, but this class definitely could have had some decent cardio if you do the “harder” versions of things. Did I mention it was also 85 degrees in the room? Not exactly hot yoga, but hotter than I am used to working out in at the end of March. I was dripping. It was almost a relief when we moved on to the weights. I mean, how hard could 3 lb weights be, right? I must say I did find this part of class easier. However, I cannot say I didn’t feel it. I am not going to be changing my stance on challenging yourself with heavy weights anytime soon, but for this class and the controlled, slow, repetitive movements it required, the weights actually worked. I would not call this a “lifting day” in any way, shape or form, but it worked and it actually made me like yoga a tiny but more to be holding weights.
Towards the very end of class I was reminded once again just how outside of my comfort zone I was. We were laying on our backs and told to bring our legs back and grab our toes. Um, seriously, people can do that?? I was lucky to reach my ankles. As soon as I got a tiny bit comfortable with that, we were told to slowly rock back and forth. I literally fell over to the side. It was so ridiculous that I couldn’t help laughing. If I had my phone with me I would have tried to recreate the pose after class so you could see it. But darn, no phone. So you will have to imagine it as you laugh at me!
Will I go back? Probably. I won’t lie, if I do it will be in part because it’s fun to meet a friend to workout and not because I loved the class. But that said, I do think it was good for me. Towards the end of class as I was struggling to get into a pose (maybe slightly before I fell over) and I realized that it really had cleared my mind because I had to think so hard about what I was doing. This did not come second nature to me at all. Maybe this isn’t how they intend for yoga to clear your mind, but hey, it worked for me which is a big feat if you know me at all! I will also admit I felt good after the class.
When was the last time YOU worked out “outside your comfort zone”? I think it is important for all of us, whether we are a gym newbie or a veteran. Try something that “scares” you a little. Take a new class. Pick up some heavier weights. Try a totally new activity.
What have YOU been meaning to try? Do you like yoga? If you are a yogi, was it love at first class or did it grow on you as you got “better” at it?