Nov. 24th, 2014

bikingandbaking: me as a teenager in a tie-dye shirt on a bike (tie dye)
So, lately, it being the beginning of base-building season, I've been casting around for things to do other than sit on a trainer for hours. (And a bunch of that; football season is a blessing.) And I've tried two things I had fairly negative associations with -- running, and tonight, yoga. More on the running later; I've mostly found that if I can let go of expectations about speed and just run that it can be a nice change of pace.

But yoga was something I bounced off of once and never thought I'd go back. I even cannibalized my yoga block to make ankle blocks for canoeing. [livejournal.com profile] dphilli1 and I took a class, years back, at the Woburn Y, which was just not the class I needed. One of the biggest issues was child's pose -- I found it excruciating, and the class, as a beginners' class, spent a lot of time in it. It was also the "alternative" if you couldn't do a pose, and the teacher couldn't believe someone was having trouble with it.

No, that Y teacher just didn't have any idea how to modify it for large-breasted and/or large-bellied humans; I need to move my knees way out to be able to breathe, and that is considered a safe/appropriate/whatever modification. I also didn't have nearly enough ankle flexibility -- it took months of diligent stretching years later for me to gain that. And I didn't do that for yoga, I did it for canoeing.

I'm not sure if this teacher would know the modifications; but I knew them, and we spent most of the rest time in table pose, anyway, which is a great place for me to hang out. And when I modified another pose, she was great about catching my eye and smiling/otherwise encouraging that, rather than a glaring correction. (She does do corrections without asking, which I don't mind but some people do, apparently; this was a thing I found looking for info on why child's pose sucked for me.) There were only a few strangulation-by-boob poses in the class, hurrah, and they were all ones where I could get something out of going to the point before my airways get squashed.

This class was a recovery-yoga class (Recovery Yoga for Cyclists at the Arlington Center), so it felt very "easy" -- there were a few poses intended for strengthening, but mostly it was stretching/lengthening. I wasn't really sure how much use the class had been until I hopped onto my bike for the ride home.

Oh. My spine was straight, my shoulders were down, and my legs had lost the congested feeling they'd had on the way over. Now, the headwind on the way over hadn't helped (the wind had died down by the end of class, so I wasn't getting a tailwind home), but my body felt very different. I even lifted my hands off the handlebars for a few seconds with the feeling that I could eventually learn to no-hands the Brompton -- and then put them back down because I was not on an appropriate street for experiments. Instead I just sat upright and tall and came home and set my computer up so that I could continue to sit properly while typing this.

And I have tea and samosas and homemade cranberry-pistachio baklava. (What, you want the recipe? It's not perfect -- I still haven't found the perfect baklava recipe, so I'd just recommend starting with your perfect baklava, and using 1/3 cranberries, 2/3 pistachios for the nut mixture, cutting the sugar in the filling back a bit, adding cardamom if it doesn't already have some, and using orange juice or grapefruit juice for any water in the syrup. And send me your perfect baklava recipe. :))

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