Guest Post: Yoga–It’s not all Savasana

My friend firstmausi, who lives in Germany and runs races and paddles kayaks and raises great kids and fabulous gardens and reads everything and travels all over Europe and is basically amazing, decided to try something new last week and has graciously allowed me to share her account of it here.

She says she’s not a writer, but that’s obviously not true—if nothing else, she has spot-on foreshadowing skills:

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Hi, Sarah!

Friday morning I started a bold venture into—Yoga! P. was pestering me for some time now to join the yoga class in our sports club. Winter is approaching and outdoor sports will get cut back. Reluctantly I agreed to give it a try. Your yoga cookies seemed a bit strange, because yoga is a esoteric thing you do while lying down and concentrate on your breathing— right?

We went to the ninety minute lesson. The instructor is a mother of four and never uses a car; she does all the shopping by bicycle with a hanger.   Of course she is a vegetarian (nothing wrong with that).  A nice person with a very eccentric touch. She told us to breathe in and out through our noses and that the first goal of yoga is: Do not hurt yourself!

Hmm, how could I hurt myself while lying on my back and breathing through my nose?

She made a brief introduction about the lesson of the day. Something with autumn, metal, a lung mudra and the lung meridian (see, it helps to read about a Chinese prisoner in Tibet).* OK, that was the esoteric part and I did not pay much attention…

We started out lying flat on our backs, breathing in and out, and feeling different body parts. Then we started moving our arms in the rhythm of our breath.  Thirty minutes into the lesson I was bored. The only interesting thing was the fact that someone sounded like Darth Vader. No, I did not giggle!

Five minutes later I was wondering if it would be very rude to just get up and go home. Half an hour later, when only three more minutes had past, we started to do something called (my translation) downward looking dog. Ha, not so boring anymore. In fact when she corrected my position I started to understand the not hurting myself part. My legs stretched quite a lot.

We moved on to the dancer. I really feared I might fall on my face. We did some more things I don’t recall by name. At one point I had to think about which one was my right hand and where does it have to go and how do I do that… Not boring anymore!

Hours later, I could still feel all the muscles of my back (might have been the cobra) but not in an unpleasant way. I’m still not sure if this means I did it right or completely wrong…

The doubt is increasing, because this morning I woke up with a slight pain in my belly muscles, hip muscles that I only ever feel after 19km of running and the suspicious feeling that there must be something between my ribs and the skin that is capable of hurting while I lie flat on my back and breathe.

I’m intrigued and will definitely go back at least twice just to be sure. My assumption that yoga is not a sport and only for wimps might have been wrong.

Of course you can tell your husband and giggle all you want!

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So, of course, I did both.

My husband the yoga instructor said her experience was fairly common and he hopes she keeps going.  I hope so, too—I can’t wait to read her opinions about some of the more advanced poses:

 

“For wimps, huh?”

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* Sarah’s note:  A mudra is a yoga pose and the lungs are considered metal energy yin organs in some holistic Chinese breathing meditations.  It’s not part of my husband’s practice, so that’s all I know.