Get Your Asana On The Trail

Crane PoseI was tricked. I had no idea what I was in for. She said it was an exercise class. How was I supposed to know we were going to yoga?

I remember how shocked I was that day. Yoga was hard, sweaty and uncomfortable. There I was lying face down on a yoga mat, waiting for the end of class, thinking it shouldn’t have been so hard.

I mean, I’ve always been physically fit and active. I’ve worked out regularly for years and I’m proud of my level of fitness for a guy approaching fifty.

It was almost as if the yoga instructor that day knew every single weakness in my body. He knew exactly where I was inflexible. And he knew just how to throw me off balance. I didn’t stand a chance.

And it upset me!

I always thought yoga was for giiirrrls – and yes, you must draw this word out to get the full disdain I had for yoga. Real men didn’t do yoga. Real men worked out with weights, pumped iron and ran until their knees gave out. No pain, no gain, right?

Ha! That yoga class was an eye-opener. There was a definite shift in my thinking that day. It was a tough class, but I wasn’t going to let it get the best of me.

Halfway through that class, when I could have been thinking I was in the wrong place at theHamstring stretch wrong time, I actually woke up and realized I was approaching my fitness from the wrong perspective. It was time for a change. It was time to man up and give yoga a try.

And, you know, I’m so glad I did. What a change I’ve seen in my body and my fitness level. Big improvements and I’m not done yet. Nope, far from it. There’s still room for more.

Fortunately, in the past three years, my flexibility has greatly increased, especially in my hamstrings and low back. When I started yoga I could barely reach my knees in a forward bend. Seriously!

I’ve also noticed I’ve gotten significantly stronger throughout my body without the typical joint pain and strain I used to experience with weight lifting.

This is all well and good, but, honestly, and I didn’t see this coming when I started doing yoga regularly, I’ve experienced the biggest improvements in my hiking and backpacking activities.

Going up and down mountains is much easier on my knees than it used to be. My hips are stronger and more flexible, making my stride longer, faster and stronger. And my spine, from my neck to my low back, no longer feels compressed. Hiking is a pleasure again.

Bound Side Angle PoseYou should try yoga. Seriously! I’m sure you’ll get equally fantastic benefits – on and off the trail.

And don’t worry. I wouldn’t trick you.

After all, when I stop and think about it now, I wasn’t tricked either. I truly believe I was in the right place at the right time. You will be too when you go to a yoga class.

See ya’ on the trail


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