Or 'How A Slightly Sceptical Englishman's Opinions Have Been Distorted Away From The Comfortable Centre'
19.11.2011 - 03.12.2011
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So I'm going to take a slight diversion from the day-to-day play book that I've written so far to discuss yoga. As I mentioned in the last post, there is an hour's yoga class pretty much every day. I signed myself up for this prior to even arriving using the following thought process:
Yoga = Fancy Stretches -> Stretches = Good For Physical Activities -> Surfing = Physical Activity ergo Yoga = Good For Surfing
It had also entered my mind that yoga is something for slightly hippy-minded people but as it is well known that all surfers are hippy bums, these two activities would go hand-in-hand. Needless to say that this particular train of thought did absolutely nothing to prepare me for the realities of what I would soon be facing!
Having participated in, at the time of writing this particular post, several yoga session I can safely say that I can see the benefits of it. The stretches that are involved would, given enough practice, drastically increase the mobility and flexibility of a person. This would have direct impacts on ones surfing skills. It can also be quite relaxing, although I think this may be as much to do with the incense burning and strange exotic chill out music that is playing during the classes. Regardless of the source, anything that relaxes both your body and your mind at the end of a hard days surfing can only be a good thing!
What I wasn't prepared for were two particular facets of this particular art form. The first, and the one that I suspect could be applied to yoga classes else where, was actually how much of a work out a class could be. The class I took part in on the second day was at six in the morning (if 6 A.M. seems quite early to you, I'll be mentioning the timing of things out here at a later date) and was clearly designed to wake the participators up a bit. I actually walked out feeling slightly pummelled and looking like I'd taken part in a particularly strenuous session in the gym. Therefore, I tip my hat to any yoga regulars who use this as a form of exercise! I now have an inkling of just how much of a work out it can be!
Having said this, and this could just be unique to the instructor here, is there really any need for the associated hippy-nonsense that is being spooned to us hand-in-hand with the actual exercise. There are two particular quotes that stick to my in particular, the first being "Breath with your lower back" and the second "Lower your arms as if through an infinite ocean of energy". Would someone please explain to me how your lower back is supposed to breath? I was under the impression that that is what lungs were for! And, by Odin's beard, can we please cut out all the mystic mumbo jumbo about feeling infinite oceans of energy!? It really isn't necessary for us to be able to stretch our muscles a little bit!
Neither, for that matter, are the poetry readings my instructor has the habit of doing while you are attempting to either tie yourself in knots, or untie yourself from said knots. I'm sure that they are meant to be inspirational and to connect with my 'inner spirit' but really, when most of your muscles are crying out from being stretched and twisted in ways they have never been called upon to do in the past, all your really worried about getting your body back into a much less painful position. Inspirational poetry is about as useful at this point as the stereotypical hole in the head.
The scientist in me tells me that yoga in good for the body and as such, good for my surfing. However, the scientist in me is also wondering how much more of the mystic stuff it can take before it cracks under the pressure of the nonsensical logic! I will however, for the scientific cause, struggle through the classes for at least the rest of this week. At least that way it cannot be said that I haven't given it a chance, although I get the distinct impression that if the metaphysical fat were trimmed from the classes I would enjoy them a lot more!
Oh well! I'll struggle through for the cause and see what happens!