Have You Ever Tried Yoga?

I almost feel like this is the same as asking, “Hey, have you ever tried swimming?” While I’m guessing the number of people who participate in yoga on a regular basis is pretty small, most people have probably experienced it once.

But not me. I had the perception that yoga was mostly about stretching and balancing, two elements of fitness I haven’t actively focused on.

A few weeks ago, I learned about a yoga class at a local park. Well, technically, Megan learned about it from my friends Trevor and Laura, and I thought I might join in. It seemed like a low-stakes chance to learn about something foreign to me that Megan enjoyed.

Before I describe what happened at the yoga session, I should clarify (for any of you who also don’t know much about yoga) that there are lots of different types of yoga. This is just one example.

I was surprised in almost every way by what the hour of yoga entailed. First was the meditative warmup, which was a really nice way to relax and clear my mind. Then it quickly ramped up into one of the most intense core, leg, and arm workouts I’ve ever experienced.

As expected, the hardest parts for me were the many elements of balance. I hadn’t thought of balance as a core workout before, though, and now I know better. It was almost a relief to take a “break” and just do some one-legged pushups (though my arms and shoulders were getting increasingly tired too).

And then at the end, we simply relaxed again. That’s when Trevor took these photos.

I really liked it. It’s not even all that different from my regular workout routine, just longer and with the meditation element. I look forward to trying it again.

Have you ever tried yoga? What kind? Did it surprise you the first time?

3 thoughts on “Have You Ever Tried Yoga?”

  1. I used to do yoga every week (until my gym closed). It’s a fantastic way to stretch out your muscles especially after a long week of workouts. I often felt more clear headed going into the week if I did a yoga class on Monday. Never done it outside though. I’ll have to try that 🙂

  2. Several months ago, one of Ping’s friends recommended that we all join her at her gym for hot yoga. I had, admittedly, only experienced yoga a handful of times in my life and nothing from those previous encounters prepared me for that Saturday morning. We arrived early and grabbed our towels, kicked off of our shoes, and walked into the large room, where they had closed all of the curtains , allowing only a minimal amount of light to invade the space. A rather diminutive woman walked into the room and with her commanding, yet soothing, voice captured our attention and we began the hot yoga exercises.

    Now, needless to say, I hadn’t read anything about yoga, so I kept moving my head from side to side looking to others for help…and Ping wouldn’t prove helpful as she too was trying to discern what was going-on, with Sitting Pose, Downward Dog, Warrior I (and Warrior II) poses. I moved well enough for what was the first 15 min, but then after a very short rest, we were back at it and harder than before.

    During the next quarter hour (of course, at this time, I’ve lost all sense of time), we moved in ways that I’m sure my body was not accustomed. I stopped in the “up” position many times, and with a free hand, grabbed my towel, wiped my brow, and attempted to keep up with the others. With a half-hour completed, we were in the downward slide…right?

    Wrong! During the next 15 minutes, my vision actually blurred and I think that I curled into the fetal position for at least two minutes. Remembering that hot air rises, I tried to keep my face as close to the ground. Ahhh, coolness, or is this the “oasis” effect of someone walking around the desert for days. HOw much longer will this go on?

    Finally, she said the words I had waited for what seemed hours to hear…let’s start to relax. Well, she and I have very different definitions of “relax” and since I’m in her room, well, we’ll go with her definition. When we finally ended, I collapsed onto the ground and wiped my brow for several minutes, before heading out of the room and consuming a half-gallon of water. I made my way to the treadmill and proceeded to run four miles while the ladies went to another part of the gym. In short, I’ve experienced hot yoga and probably will not return anytime soon.


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