Yoga for Guys – from tough to flexible

After years of sport, leg work, bad posture and poor eating, I find myself in all sorts of positions, yoga positions, and it is not easy! My legs are stiff and I struggle to bend and twist – now I realise how “2 dimensional” I have become. It is time to change, to stretch and give my poor muscles the pampering they long needed. Age is creeping up on me and the aches don’t go away.

Like many, I think of myself as a ‘sportsman’ but in all honesty I spend far too much time sat at the computer, in the car or on some couch, slouched in appalling posture. I can stand tall, but sit down and I shrink like an old man, back hunched, belly bulging. I’d die horse riding – no straight back for me (yet).

First step was to sort the diet out (see earlier posts, if interested). Alcohol, coffee and sugar have been absent for 10 years now, and added to that list is a whole ton of other foodstuffs, junk and waste that my body has been “disposing of”, to help markets and eateries clear their shelves. ‘2 for 1’ used to mean I ate double, and so I converted the supermarkets surplus into fat on my body. How dum! I even paid them for the priviledge, feeling good about getting a discount bargain. Still dum. So, I am not overeating anymore. Gone are the occassional pies, pastries, pizzas and sandwiches. No more eating the leftovers on my wife’s plate (because I am bigger and so deserve / need to eat more). No more caffeine, cow’s milk, and a whole lot of other things. No more big portions like Desperate Dan. My body is no longer a waste disposal unit, full of shit.

Second is the yoga. It looks so easy, so “passive”, and hippy. Even though I empathise with the concept of yoga and meditation and such like, I felt it not my thing, for I was better at walking, aerobics and cycling. Its just that I am not doing enough of that and my wife is not a fan of cold, wet outdoors. So, I dabbled in a bit of meditation, pilates and yoga but it never ‘did it for me’. Then I realised I wasn’t doing it right!

So, now, after our initial month of the special diet and a degree of discipline, I find myself really enjoying the feeling of yoga – though I have not yet explored the deeper meaning of it – I am doing it to get the heart beating, the muscles warmed, stretched and toned. It is not easy! Done properly, calmly, with relaxed breathing and control – it is bloody challenging!

We use a DVD, so have an instructor, and we do it together, on a little purple mats (even though I hate the idea of buying kit for exercise), and take about 50 minutes each day, usually in the morning but not aways. I do as much as I can, and I am still learning, my muscles and brain are still learning (perhaps relearning, since I did a lot as a child, naturally, with ease).

It is quite a humbling experience to realise that one’s body has become so stiff, weak, fat and unused to not be able to do simple postures! I may stand tall, at 1.88m / 6’2″ but I cannot do half the stuff those yoga people get up to! This is like rock climbing on the flat, takes control, discipline and flexibility. The great thing is, I am getting better at it and getting more out of it!

Next – I’ll write about “flow”.

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