Yoga, more like Broga

 

Doing anything with attention to how you feel is doing yoga.
– Jean Couch

To all readers who clicked to read more after scanning the opening quote. Yes, I’m going to be that guy. About to mansplain some yoga (while tongue firmly planted in cheek). If you haven’t cringed from the humor and audacity that a heavyweight can offer an opinion beyond strength training or hitting things, I applaud you.
My simple claim is yoga is more than the Lulu-lemon sponsored hour of stretching, capped off by a nap. Well, it does have those elements, but I can now admit after a year of what you can call dedicated practice. Yoga has proven to be an effective method to practice meditation and to combat my lifestyle choice of working through lunch everyday.
I am essentially parroting the same thing most type-As claim after their first “chaturanga”, however that doesn’t make it any less true. With that I will disclose my greatest benefit from adopting a regular yoga practice instead of doubling down on Olympic lifts has been gaining the ability to challenge what goes on in our own minds.

This week began with me recovering from the toughest yoga class I’ve ever been to. I am still convinced that it was held in a hyperbolic time chamber, disguised as a studio. Arriving for a fabled Saturday class that I’ve put off for a long time the easiest part of that class was unrolling my mat. That too was difficult once I stepped in I became intensely aware the AC was off and half a dozen large windows lining the room, welcomed the Florida sun. In that instant, maybe it was the sticky thick air of the room, but the urge to escape the room welled up inside me. Only being able to gulp down my fear of things to come I proceeded to roll out my mat. I was betraying my instincts! The source irrational thing I’ve trusted that’s kept me safe my entire life. But, today it was time for ‘power’ yoga and  greet this feeling of different  and not run away.
The class was different, to put it simply, my mind and body had to quickly adjust to the pace the instructor; as she had a cadence and emotional tone I would describe as religiously empowered, I mean ‘WooWoo’. Teaching yoga or performing the role of yogi was was obviously important to the instructor and I believed it was to the class as well, so why rock their boat if self mastery was one of my sub objectives for sticking with yoga for as long as I have? Because my instincts had scored a half court 3-pointer when I walked in.
As a life long athlete summer heat is manageable; capriciously long positions/holds are tolerable; but apparently when the phrases “surrender” and “center your heart/mind” are used when my rationale mind is hanging on to understand every bio-mechanical benefit and use of this class, that is my flash point. My instincts drew a new picture for me. And it is this one moment that made all worth it. helped me paint a new picture: I was terrified of getting injured; either because my joints and muscles weren’t ready for a class like this or the instructor genuinely lacked empathy and respect for the individual (two people leaving before the half way point of the session of the heat/frustration).
Come on brain why would you think such a mean thing as that? An instructor put a lot of care in to performing expertly do positions with esoteric jargon, issuing verbal cues to push for advanced poses than demoing an adequate regression, “The temperature feels fine to me.” the reply to a red in the face student.
Either my months of previous yoga has been homogenized by corporate overlords and the mantra of play it safe, or I’ve gotten myself into enmeshed with an instructor I didn’t want, but could make the best of it.
Each time I perceived a micro-aggression: breath through it (towels were handed out to everyone but me). Hearing the request to surrender into a pose, don’t cringe. Ask myself at what pace can I do each movement, instead of just copying the pace of the manic pixie in the front of the room.
Is this the secret to yoga? Quieting the monkey mind and all that jazz? Because it has a lot to offer a hyperactive person that traditional meditation can’t do as effectively.

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Road to becoming a Ninja warrior pt 2

As a friend of mine once said, “If the first one was too easy.”

I generally enjoy thinking of my week in terms of how many yoga sessions, magic tournaments, and cups of coffee can I squeeze into 168 hours. Lost? Confused yet? Where’s my mediocre work out I’m going to have to scale? You might be asking yourself; don’t worry I’m trying to channel a much more talented writer, dare say friend (Mark Nestico), to consider why this work out was important enough to write about.
The point is as much like the half-moon position I held during yoga class today it takes a lot of steps before you begin to understand balance. So, to myriad of concessions I make so I can balance a happy and well lived life… that also coincides with my goal of not completely failing at a ninja warrior trial; or at least while knowing 23% percent of my week is literally just sitting at a computer working (granted I do have a kneeling chair); that percentage is not even considering how much time I’m commuting, eating (editor’s note a lot), and most notably when not at the gym (hopefully not cycling) at a table playing MTG (Magic the Gathering).

So yeah there’s a common theme on my mind is: Wow I have weak ass hip flexors and over-tightened hamstrings! If you didn’t share in that same thought, translation, I sit a lot; and that’s affecting my ability to sprint and jump in cartoonish fashion. And, wanted to put a few words to paper to bring this to other readers attention if you share in the same lifestyle choice. To remedy that I’m hipster enough to go to yoga 3 times a week; take up every opportunity to catch up with people for coffee (often its a walking meeting); and being mindful how much grinding am I doing for MTG. 2 positives and being aware of a negative that I don’t intend on giving up to the goal, or balance if you will. Just a thought to entertain before the WOD
Yoga +
4 ROUNDS:
20 Goblet Squat 1.5POODs
20 Threaded Lunges 1.5POODs
15 Overhead Squat 47kg
5 Turkish Get-ups .5POODs
25 Kettlebell Swings 1.5POODs