Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's Easy to Spot a Freak

This morning, the first of May, I decided to drag myself out to yoga after a near three week absence. I won’t bore you with a position by position description of the hour and a half class. It’s challenging, tiring, relaxing, at times frustrating, and most of all, therapeutic. Though I still have difficulty touching my toes I’m seeing slow and steady improvement in my flexibility and by extension, in my overall body strength, especially that of my core. Yoga’s enjoying ever increasing popularity among elite athletes for its ability to prevent and even rehabilitate repetitive use injuries so it feels good to be doing something both Phelps and Thorpe have used in their training. But the real reason I’ve brought up today’s yoga session was because we had a new face in class. Clearly not a gimp and since he was in his early twenties and without the body of an athlete I dismissed him as a possible guru. In my very narrowly defined world of yoga that left him having to be gay. The possibility I had erred in my assessment was raised when our instructor used one of Kevin’s postures as an example of perfection and then was confirmed when she used later postures he reached as examples for the class a second and then a third time. The second time she did so it was preceded by an exhortation for all of us to strive to do our very best and use Kevin as an inspiration. Now normally I ignore any off topic mutterings of my instructors and continue with my own yoga but after hearing an accolade like that I ceased my efforts and took a look. We were working on a back strengthening floor exercise called the Locust where, lying on your stomach with arms underneath the body palms down and the face ‘kissing’ the floor, you raise your legs together as high as you can while bending only at the hips and lower back. I get my legs up around forty centimeters off the ground and then have a strong tendency to experience cramping in my calves. Kevin was doing a virtual head stand, really world class yoga! It would be like having some unknown drop in for practice and pull off a 1:54 200 meter free! We’ve had guests who were medalists in competitive yoga at the Western Canadian regional level but they had nothing on this guy! After class I asked him if he competed, to which he replied it had been suggested but he was going to attend Bikram’s Instructors Class this summer instead. Not even an instructor? “Then how long have you been practicing yoga?” I asked. “Fifteen months” was his reply, “I guess I have it in the genes”. Only fifteen months - no freaking doubt about that! Bikram is going to just love this guy. Yet another reminder I really have to get working on finishing my freak post.

End Note: Today was also weigh-in day. Based on my measurements being unchanged from last month my nearly one kilogram of additional heft is almost all muscle gain. I’ll just say I’m suspicious about the likelihood of my putting on muscle while sitting at a desk for two weeks straight doing nothing else and leave it at that.

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