Friday, December 11, 2015

Scared of Headstands and other Yoga Woes

When I first started doing yoga, years ago, I fretted. What was all this breathing carp*? Where was the cardio! Bring on the cardio!

I'm not as cardio obsessed anymore and I have come to realize I really need to do yoga. A horrible fall while trail running has haunted me for the past four years. Periodically one side of my body rebels and decides to hurt, and according to my physical therapist, I get out of alignment every so often. "Your kidneys and liver are really compressed," he said thoughtfully at my last appointment. And, possibly a lingering effect of the knee surgery after my last marathon, I've noticed a knee clunking if I bend it beyond a certain degree.

So yoga it is. I will never be "good" at it, though. Most hikers and runners are not all that flexible and I'm no exception. Leaning my forehead on the ground in a seated forward bend is an impossible dream. My heels are still not flat on the floor in downward dog.

And then there's the headstands. Most of the people in my class pop right up and stay there. Not me. I waver at the important step of kicking up. Once I am up, I just want to be back down. It feels scary and wrong. "I like headstands," one of the other yogis says cheerfully. "Not handstands though."

Handstands?!

Even though I suspect I am the worst yogi my teacher has ever seen, I still dutifully trundle to class. I still can't quite get the breathing, and what does it mean to move my gut tube? I have no idea. But I keep trying, because I know after decades of pounding down the trail I need something that balances out. I hope that my knee will get stronger and my body finally will release all the problems it holds from the fall. Turns out, cardio isn't what I need to be doing all the time.

*Yes that is carp. Because it makes me laugh.

Do you do yoga? Can you do a headstand? What about a handstand?



22 comments:

  1. I do yoga to undo all that running/hiking does to it too. I'm not sure there's such thing as being good or bad at yoga. To me, it's so much more than being able to twist or stretch, it's about the feeling I get, that brief release for my daily stresses and calms all the noise in my head. Sounds cheesy? Oh yeah, but it's a really nice contrast from some of the higher intensity activities I enjoy, so I keep on doing it.

    I personally love headstands and am sad that I've been sick with a sinus infection and cold the last few weeks so I haven't been doing them. It hurts to turn my head to the side so upside down is a no-go for now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, I never really get much of a chance to calm down. So yoga is good. I need to get some tips for headstands.

      Delete
  2. Yes I do yoga but it's just a app on my iPad.
    I've found it helps keep me more flexible.
    However I don't do handstands with this routine, I should try one it's been a long time. Better make sure there's nothing in the way that could get broke first. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could never try it at home. I'd either hit the wood stove or the cat.

      Delete
  3. Sorry I ment to say headstands, there's no way I could do a handstand. Ha ha...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was introduced to yoga this year as a means to aid my osteoporosis. Unfortunately I haven't been able to attend regularly so each session is hard work and the muscles complain the following days. My new year's resolution is to be regular. LOL re the cartoon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate missing a class. It's amazing how I feel like I have strong legs until I go to yoga.

      Delete
  5. Sounds like you have tight hamstrings. My nemesis as well. I believe yoga would be highly beneficial for me, but I can't get over flashbacks of my seventh grade tumbling clinic, where my gym teacher barked instructions as I tried and failed (yes, failed) to execute a somersault.

    I dislike the idea of DVDs and teaching myself yoga moves when I'm already so awkward, but I don't think I can handle the social anxiety of a class. I suppose something's gotta give if I ever want to start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find I need a class or I won't do it. Luckily there aren't mirrors.

      Delete
  6. I take a yoga class at my club once a week. It's a slow hour, but I feel so much better when I'm done. The older I get, the more I need stuff like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here, I feel so much less flexible.

      Delete
  7. I think yoga is the worst. The ridiculous claims made in the yoga world just irk me ("twists wring toxins out of your body!" "Yoga is detoxifying!" "Yoga makes you better at XYZ!"). It's all such bunk. Holding poses to "balance hormones," that's another classic.

    Some of those "poses" are just plain damaging, particularly the ones that contort one's neck or twist one's spine. If people like doing it, fine, but there's really nothing to be gained from doing a headstand, other than compressed discs. So you can do a headstand, so what? How does that help, well, anything at all?

    Yoga has some weird hold on women in the US. You really shouldn't feel like you "have" or "need" to do it. I think that line is what keeps the yoga industry churning.

    I really loved this article by Paul Ingraham which takes the "stretching" myth and shreds it into little pieces. It's long but a worthwhile read: https://www.painscience.com/articles/stretching.php

    God, yoga. Ugh! (thanks for the rant space Mary)



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just need it in terms of I need the benefits from deep stretches. Not yoga,per se. I suppose I could get the same benefit from 80 minutes,of stretching, I just don't do it. I know many people believe things about yoga that i dont. I don't think it is a mystical cure for anything.

      Delete
  8. "Move your gut tube?" WTF? That has no meaning at all! I'm going to add that to my list of irritating yoga phrases.

    OK, I'm done now.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Life long runner here who tries to do yoga. I do it at home to various online videos. I really do like it when I take the time to do it. Headstands hurt my head. Not my neck but the top of my head. If I do them, I do them against the wall. I am super impressed at how flexible some people are, for me touching my toes feels like a major success. But it does feel good. I am going to take an adult beginner ballet class. My first formal dance at age 51. I am sure I will look as ridiculous as hell but I don't care!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel like my head isn't stron enough to be supportive even though that sounds ridiculous. Ballet sounds fun. I took it as a child.

      Delete
  10. I love yoga. Headstones for me happen against a wall. One gym has mirrors the other doesn't. I prefer the one without. The last thing I want to do is see myself in a mirror while doing yoga. I am only comfortable in the back row of the class. Breathing, I will never be able to breathe correctly. I'm always breathing opposite of what the instructor is guiding. I feel too many joints creekin and poppin now that I get worried with every class I attend. Exact opposite of what one should do in a yoga class. Handstand, no way, no how for me. Maddie on the other hand loves them, and can walk on her hands as well.
    Love the cartoon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walk on her hands?! Impossible! I hear those creaks too. So much that I kind of dread the left side. But I do think it helps. At least I hope so.

      Delete
  11. I love hot yoga! A rare chance to be completely and utterly hot:) I struggle with a lot of poses because as a runner and cyclist I have some very tight muscles. I am working on the headstand, but always get little broken blood vessels in my face (lol) and can't yet get the handstand. But I do love the feeling of opening and relaxing when I take a yin yoga class. Sometimes our bodies do need to "move" in different ways to heal.
    Naomi (Kimberley, BC)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They don't have hot yoga here. (But I get really warm). I agree, it's all about variety. For years I did a lot of the same type of exercise. I like changing it up.

      Delete
  12. I felt the same way about yoga that you did when I first started. Now I love it. But, I will NEVER be able to do a headstand.

    ReplyDelete

Hello out there. If you liked this post, please leave a comment so I keep writing!