This is a little early in the process but I'm pretty excited so I thought why the hell not write about the beginning of this new endeavor and then perhaps do some updates along the way? I am, after all, the king/president/CEO of this blog and since I don't have shareholders I can do whatever the hell I want right?! I'm pretty positive I can relate this to my life as a caretaker (not that I have to for above mentioned King reasons) and perhaps break some stigma about men doing what is normally seen as a woman's activity. So, what exactly have I begun? Yoga.
So why would I begin yoga? Well, I'll get to that. First off I should probably describe myself a little further. I'm 6'0" - 6'1" depending on the day, currently 280ish pounds, tattooed, bearded. I look like a lumberjack basically. Some day's people would probably swear that I'm simply making my yearly visit to town from my cabin in the woods. Not exactly the key demographic for those marketing their yoga business. However, what I did have was a serious interest in doing something that could help my recover from some previous injuries and perhaps learn how to calm and relieve myself from stress. And that, I believe is a key when deciding to learn this practice.
When I made the decision to do this I knew I didn't want to simply sign up for a class and try to learn with 15 or 20 other people. Since this is such a serious departure from anything I've ever done fitness wise, I wanted some one on one instruction so I could learn properly and if I had questions, get them answered immediately so I could apply the lessons. Originally I attempted to contact a local instructor but after weeks of attempting to arrange a time to meet without success, I decided to go in a new direction. Funny how things work out. My current instructor was recommended by a friend of the wife and I and it's worked out great! She's very knowledgeable and only goes as fast as I'm ready for. Sometimes this means we can breeze right through a lesson and other times we slow down and make it work for me. Since we're beginning from the ground up the first classes have had a lot of focus on proper breathing with only a couple of different poses. However, it hasn't taken long for me to learn that what seems like the most simple of movements, when done properly, can make your whole body work. The best example of this was the other day. She had me doing a pose that basically looked like I was standing still. However, because of the way she had be moving each muscle in about two minutes the sweat was starting to roll off my forehead. Pretty awesome.
Like I said, I'm only a couple of classes in so this is just the beginning. But I'm hooked. I already can't wait to get back to it this week. After the classes I feel better, more relaxed. This is not to say that I want to give up weight training in the future. On the contrary, one of my biggest motivations in doing yoga is to rebuild my body so I can return to pushing, pulling, and moving heavy pieces of iron. Even then though, I realize I want yoga to become a part of my life and Marilyn and I have been discussing getting her involved as well.
So where does all this come into play in my caretaking roll? First, the better I understand and am able to do the breathing techniques, the better I'll be able to relax and the better I'll be able to respond in high stress situations. Second, the healthier I am physically the better it is for the family as a whole. Having much of the responsibility for doing things that require me to use my body, if I'm broke down it puts us all in a bad situation. The better and more freely my body is able to move, the less likely I am to become injured and as a bonus because my nervous system won't be firing unnecessarily all the time in response to pain and discomfort, the more energy I'll have. I suppose I could continue talking about all the benefits to the body and how they relate to one another but damn that would take multiple posts and more research for medical terminology than I have time for. Basically becoming involved in yoga has the benefits you see and the ones you don't.
Sometimes it's necessary for all of us to step outside of comfort zone to learn or become involved in things that have potential benefit. For me exercise and fitness has generally revolved around weightlifting and running and I tended to not pay attention to stretching and such. It's come back to bite me in the ass now obviously. However, there are tools to fix this and to not take advantage because of some ridiculous belief that it will somehow make me less masculine or whatever BS, would be plain stupidity. I challenge everyone reading this to do one thing this week that you're interested in but have been holding off on for whatever reason. Perhaps you won't like it but perhaps, just perhaps, you'll find something that you thoroughly enjoy.