Monday, January 26, 2009
One subject on this blog whose treatment is out-of-line with its importance in my life is yoga. I do it every morning for about 20-30 minutes. And, I've only being doing it for a year or so.
Let me just say that it is AWESOME. Forget the chanting, the *feel your thoughts float away like a butterfly* nonsense. Yoga is minimally about stretching and strengthening one's body. It'll improve your posture, respiration, and yes, even your *chi*.
What's great about yoga, beyond the results, is that you can do it without breaking a sweat; you can do it after eating a hearty breakfast; and that you can do it anywhere on this overheated Earth. It's cheap to boot!
I first started doing free on-demand yoga classes from Comcast on my color TV. Then I borrowed a book. Most recently I've been cruising the web and YouTube for new poses and stretches. That chick whose video I posted the other night (for her *qualities important to the superficial male*) I've actually found to be quite a good resource.
Here's the crux of yoga. Can you bend over, keeping your legs straight and touch your toes? Probably not - especially if you're a dude. Yoga people can not only do this, they can bend over so far that they can place their palms flat on the ground.
I mistakenly thought that I couldn't touch my toes because "I'm not flexible" and "Because of my bad back". But I discovered that my inability was actually due to *tight hamstrings*. I am happy to report that I can now not only touch my toes but almost get my palms completely flat on the ground. Note that I am still brimming with masculinity and I still have the very bad back!
None of this is philosophy or *detoxification*....It's pure anatomy. Hamstrings are, well, strings and you have about a bazillion of them (alright, maybe not that many). They get tight from our sedentary, automotive lifestyles and wreak havoc on our backs. Tightness in our bodies is a locally contagious affliction. What kills me to this day is that out of all of my doctors, not a one of them ever told me to stretch my hamstrings (or lose my gut) to mitigate my bad back. Remember I suffer from TOS (and had its invasive surgery) because of a freakish car accident almost 11 years ago now.
Not only did the doctors all push useless, expensive pills on me, and not only did they fail to recommend yoga, THEY STRONGLY ADVISED THAT I NOT DO STRENUOUS STRETCHING.
So they told me NOT TO DO the one thing that has helped the most!
The next thing you know, our powers-at-be will be prescribing for our debt-ravaged society....EVEN MORE DEBT!
Okay, I digress.
Yoga is one of these things that has the potential to really transform you physically. It awakens muscles you, even if a one-time star athlete, never knew you had. Heck, later in his career NBA icon Larry Bird used to *stretch* for a solid hour each day.
You naysayers need to realize that flexibility and strength are in no way disjoint goals.
I could add plenty more here on yoga but my time is short. Though I am going to add one final thought.
My wife - sagacious broad that she is - had unsuccessfully tried for years to get me to do yoga. I rejected the idea reflexively. I was turned off by the *people* who were into it, the airheaded philosophy of it, and probably the group/class aspect. I like to do things, make that just about everything, by myself. Essentially, I refused a life-enhancing practice because of the people, whom I believed, have co-opted it.
What I've truly learned over the past couple of years is to not reject ANYTHING based upon its practitioners.
Yeah, almost four years ago I set out to Marginalize Morons and in the process I accidentally got a whole lot more tolerant of them. Seriously.
So, again. Be careful what you ignorantly deprecate. How many meathead 'old coots' do you know that laughed at golf, retired, and then lamented the fact that they didn't take up the game decades prior?
My next post in this vein, will explain to y'all why I have started passionately studying ballet.