Saturday, July 9, 2016

Finding My Fitness Groove. Without Yoga

Let's get something straight right off the bat. I hate yoga. When I retired and had more free time, I decided I would get back in the fitness groove. I'd always been active, and worked out regularly, but now was my chance to really ramp things up. And I intended my new regimen to include yoga. 

Everyone, but everyone, told me I would love it. That as an active person who has always had issues with flexibility, it would be perfect for me. Just what I needed. That's what I thought too. Everyone loves yoga... and so would I. It would add to my fitness routine, be fun, and help me become more flexible. 


Cycling near the Rideau River, Ontario
Cycling along the Rideau.
Well... as it turned out... not so much. 

Over that first winter, I tried numerous classes at two yoga studios with at least three different teachers. The first class was a disaster. Before we started I explained to the teacher, who seemed like a lovely person, about my rank beginner status (I emphasized rank... as in zero knowledge... I will admit I knew what to wear... but that was all.) I told her of my ongoing upper back issues and explained that I was in physiotherapy for a shoulder problem. And despite all this and the fact that it was a beginner class with only five students, the teacher pattered away, narrating what we were supposed to do, never moving from her place to assist me when I clearly didn't know which arm or leg went where. 

I found it almost impossible to mimic her movements because she was facing us, and thus presenting a mirror image of what I should look like. Not to mention the fact that I couldn't see her half the time because my head was down and my arse pointed at the ceiling. Pardon the almost profanity... but I was frustrated. I didn't know how to modify poses to accommodate my back and shoulder problems. Shouldn't she have been mentioning that instead of just reading her script? And I couldn't tell if I was doing the poses correctly because I have really poor body awareness. Just ask Hubby. When I finally plunked down on the mat and just sat watching, she tossed me some weirdly shaped foam thingies, said "these might help," and returned to her script. Thanks, but what the heck was I supposed to do with these? I just looked at them until one of the other students whispered what they were for. Sigh. So, first class... not a success? Ha. You think?

After the class the teacher recommended that maybe I should get a video and learn the poses. Maybe that had been the problem. Really? Not the fact that in a beginner class it seemed we were supposed to know everything already? Sigh. Afterward I was assured by many friends that she was NOT a good yoga teacher. It wouldn't always be like that. 

a sun dappled trail near Kemptville, Ontario
Sum dappled trail near Kemptville.
So I pressed on. I did get a "Yoga for Beginners" DVD from the library. I learned some of the poses. And I persisted with classes. I visited a different yoga studio near my house, and talked to the two owners about which classes might be best for me. They had differing opinions. I tried both of their suggestions. And signed up for a few more classes. I was more vocal this time. I asked the instructor questions when I didn't understand what she was telling me to do... like when she said something about making my hips "one" with something or other..."Do you mean I should tilt my pelvis?" I asked. "Yes. That's a good way to put it," she replied. So, I tilted. Then she instructed us to pose in a manner that contradicted my physiotherapist's recommendations. It was the exact position my physio had warned me could exacerbate back problems. Okay. I'm definitely NOT doing that, I thought. I sat on the mat. And she tossed me the foam thingies. Cripes, not again. This time I spoke up..."I don't know what I'm supposed to do with these." At least she stopped her narration and came over to show me. That was good. Better than the first class. 

But the lying on the mat breathing and stuff at the end of the class just annoyed me. Don't get me wrong. I've tried meditation. A few years ago during a very stressful time, I tried breathing exercises and meditation and they really helped. But on that day in the yoga studio I just lay there feeling silly, looking at the cracks in the ceiling. Maybe I'm just not a deep breathing in public kind of person, I thought. Maybe I'm just not a yoga kind of person, I admitted. 


hiking near Ispagnac, Languedoc, France
Hiking in the Languedoc in France
A few classes later, I had a good rant and then a good laugh with my nephew's wife, Ange, who was also, at the time, my physiotherapist. "How can I be the only person alive who hates yoga?" I spouted one afternoon. She laughed.  Ange really knows her stuff. She has a kinesiology degree as well as a post-grad physiotherapy degree. And she's really good at what she does, as well as being one of my favourite people. And we came to the conclusion after many discussions about yoga, that it wasn't for me. 

It's not good for my body and its limitations. Not good for specific injuries I've sustained. When I tried to replicate one yoga pose that I thought might be problematic for me... ouch... yep... that's the pain I was talking about. So, yoga may have contributed to my hip and back problems, and instead of helping me, we think it may have hurt me. And finally, this is an important one... maybe yoga is not good for me temperamentally. Maybe I can't be a yoga person. I'm too impatient. Too critical of the instructor. And I'm almost ashamed to admit this one... too competitive... the "if she can do that stupid move, surely I should be able to do it" kind of thing. I'm too likely to hurt myself by trying to do things my body doesn't want to do. For good reason.


MacAfee Knob in Roanoke, Virginia
Hiking up to McAfee Knob, Virginia
Still, I somehow felt as if I had failed. Millions of very chill, yoga pant clad,  rolled-up mat carrying people couldn't possibly be wrong, right? But recently I've discovered that even some yoga aficionados are now saying that yoga can hurt us. Have a look at this article by William J. Broad for The New York Times. According to the experts Boyd spoke to, yoga has many virtues but it can also harm us. And has harmed people. Even longtime yoga practitioners. Seems that sometimes the damage takes years to accrue. Hmm. Maybe it's not just me.

Before you say it, I recognize that any sport or physical activity can potentially harm us. Knowing how to do whatever you do is very important. Proper posture, correct form, alignment. Bending your knees, watching your position, avoiding over training etc etc. I've not lived with a jock/phys. ed. teacher for all these years and not learned that. You see this is where my lack of body awareness can hurt me. I can't tell half the time if I'm doing something correctly. I usually need Hubby to watch and tell me if I'm doing what I think I'm doing, so it takes me a while to develop a particular skill. Skiing down hill and cross-country, paddling, working with weights, I've struggled to make sure I do them all properly, so I don't get hurt. That's why I really needed the yoga instructor to tell me if I was doing things correctly. Or not. 

And finally, I've come to the conclusion that I'm just not willing to put in the time learning something new if I'm not having fun. And I guess that is part of the problem with yoga. Quite frankly, I find it boring. 

I know, I know, that's so shallow. 


Rideau Valley Conversation Authority trail along the Jock River, Manotick, Ontario
Walking with my buddies Marina and Margaret. 
I realize that many, many of you practice yoga and love it. And I don't mean to offend you by hating it. But it's not for everyone. And I don't think we should assume it is. Our bodies are all different, after all. Not to mention our temperaments.

So, I guess I'm going to stick to cycling and walking, and paddling in the summer, and skiing and pedaling my exercise bike in the winter. I'll throw in a weekly weight work-out, or two. And do my daily stretches recommended by my physiotherapist. And I won't be lying on the yoga mat, feeling silly, deep breathing, and looking at the cracks in the ceiling. I'll be chatting with my friends. Debating who's going to win this year's Tour de France with Hubby. Or listening to a great mystery on my i-pod. 

So I guess finding my fitness groove won't include yoga, after all. I still have the outfit, though. A lovely pair of black yoga pants and a pretty pink top. 

But... I can wear always them hiking, can't I?





What about you, dear readers? How's your fitness groove coming along? What's your plan for staying healthy and active?




56 comments:

  1. I learned to love yoga only because a beautiful young neighbour of mine opened a studio whose ethos suits me very well. Instruction is very good, always supported, lots of modifications offered, and guidance into safe positions. I know exactly what you mean in your frustrations with it, and I wonder if you've ever tried Pilates classes, especially Pilates classes on the Reformer -- for me, with similar problems with body awareness and with a funny mix of insecurity and competitiveness, the Reformer machine (and the guidance of an excellent teacher in a small class -- never more than 7) made all the difference to me when I started. I did Pilates twice a week for about ten years and found it excellent for developing and maintaining strength, flexibility, and balance -- and because the machine required that this foot go here and that hand grasp that loop, I didn't have to do the guesswork you're talking about. When I finally decided I wanted a switch to yoga, just to try something new, I recognised some of the moves and positions and was much more ready and confident. Not sure if this would suit you, but if there's a good Pilates studio near you, it might be worth checking out (and the practice grew out of physiotheraphy, so that science-based approach might appeal to you more).

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    1. I explored the idea of Pilates but could not find a class that wasn't right downtown. And the idea of a 30-40 minute commute put me off. That's one reason why I chose yoga over pilates, there seem to be yoga classes everywhere. And "zumba" ... which did not appeal. Part of the problem of living in the country. Ah well, mustn't grumble, as they say. I will say we have a very good coffee shop in Manotick now, that's not a Tim Hortons, and "the girls" and I go there after our walk.

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    2. Ha! That's exactly the reason I finally switched to yoga. Pilates class worked well when I was working, as long as I built my term's schedule around my Pilates classes (!). I could just swing by on the way home from work, and it was a great way to unwind before heading to dinner.But I started finding that I didn't want to go in the non-teaching weeks, and then once I retired. . . .
      Haven't taken a class in the month since we've moved though, relying on Online video sessions which just aren't the same. Rather dreading the project of trying out new studios until I find one that feels right. My daughters gave me a gift certificate to one they like, and it's on my list for next week to at least check out their schedule and location . . .

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  2. I can absolutely understand & you seem very active to me . Many years ago I joined a yoga class & was so bored , it was like being back in the PE class at school . Friends say it helps them relax but I find relaxing very easy - just give me a good book . I'm not competitive or interested in sport & even find it uncomfortable sometimes being amongst highly competitive people vying to be the best . I do love to walk though & always have . Whether through beautiful countryside or interesting cities , as long as the surroundings are stimulating . On my recent trip to the Italian countryside with my sisters I was out alone at 6am for three hour walks around the area - heaven . It's good that we are all different though .
    Wendy in York

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    1. I should say that I'm competitive in pushing myself, which in athletics becomes my determination to keep up. I keep thinking that I should be able to do something. That combined with my wonky joints is a recipe for injury. So I'm better doing things by myself or with good friends who aren't any better than I am at sports.
      Now... walking in the Italian countryside is something I could definitely do with pleasure. Hope your trip was wonderful, Wendy.

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  3. I've paid $100 for ten sessions (I think??) and I only went to maybe four. I completely understand everything you are saying. I thought it would help with my aches and pains and my back issues. Nope. It just hurt more. The first time I went, I got a sinus headache from the incense she was burning. I'd much rather lift weights. -Jenn

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    1. Oh that made me laugh, Jenn. The sinus headache part. I get shortness of breath whenever I even walk by a shop that burns incense in the mall near my house. I'd be right royally pissed off if they had done that at a class I attended. I mean even more pissed off than I already was. I don't need to pay to be annoyed. Gad... I sound cranky. See? Even talking about yoga makes me cranky:)

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  4. I so agree with you when you said that temperamentally you and yoga were not a good fit. I have always felt that way and wondered why I was so bored the few times I tried it. And then I tried it again in my 60's thinking I wanted to make sure I remained flexible in my old age and found that all that putting the head down and the butt up caused me to have vertigo (to the point of nausea!)
    I too am sticking to the more active (and vertical) movement either in the gym or out in the great outdoors.

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    1. Me too, Diane. I'm much better remaining upright.

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  5. I have discovered that there are many yoga instructors who seem very self absorbed to the point of narcissism. I am so lucky to have found a therapeutic yoga class offered through ouri town's rec department. Our instructor is wry, helpful and gently self effacing, not to mention not a twenty year old. The class is wonderful. I love it and her.t

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    1. Not being a twenty year old helps, doesn't it? I think finding a good instructor is "the luck of the draw" as my husband always says. And she can make all the difference. You are lucky to have found a good one... hang onto her.

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  6. This old gal HATES yoga. A. Boring B. I refuse to look like a squatting dog. C. I get the giggles when everyone else squats like a dog. Just sayin...

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    1. Oh yeah... giggles. There's that. In the classes I attended it seemed that everyone was taking everything sooo seriously.

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  7. Funny! I get why it doesn't appeal to you.
    I'm dragging myself to my first yoga class in a year this afternoon. I say drag, because I simply hate having to get in the car to go exercise. I also struggle to make myself do it at home. Maybe I just hate exercise, period.

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    1. I hate to get in the car to go exercise, too. Unless I'm meeting friends. Last year I started skating once a week with two former colleagues; we skate, yak, and then go for coffee and yak some more. Now we've started walking in the summer, when there's no skating. I find it much better than a class... probably because I'm not good at taking instruction. Too used to being the teacher, I guess. Good luck with your class.

      But be gentle so you don't worsen your hip. It was a yoga pose where I was pushing myself too hard that did for my hip.

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  8. OH, I agree on the yoga front. I have tried and tried and ultimately quit when I twisted my knee enough to need surgery. I probably needed an instructor that told me to stop if anything hurt, but yoga has always kind of hurt. So I didn't know better. I envy the peace of mind and flexibility that my friends seem to enjoy from yoga, but I'm VERY hesitant to try again, so I find it elsewhere. Like you, I walk and hike and bike. I do, however, LOVE my yoga pants. :-)
    --Laurel in Michigan

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    1. See that's what makes me angry. Yoga instructors to my mind should be warning people, helping them to modify poses etc etc. My new physiotherapist, since my niece moved away, tells me that when she goes to yoga class she has to modify almost all of the poses. She's very fit but like me she has funny hip and knee alignment and her body just won't assume the positions that yoga requires. I'll stick to hiking in my yoga pants, I think.

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  9. I am so glad I am not the only one. Yoga and I do not work well together. I can do the poses, but I always leave crabbier than when I arrived. Last year I started doing Essentrics and that has been wonderful for my posture, flexibility, and mobility. And it makes me happy.

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    1. I'm so glad I wrote this post. Now I know that I'm not the only one:) I may check out "Essentrics" if I can find it around here.

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    2. Hi Sue, if you don't know already, Essentrics is a Montreal-based fitness workout, started by a former ballerina under the name 'Classical Stretch'. She, Miranda Esmonde-White, started the workout (and Classical Stretch shows on PBS) and her daughter Sahra is now also involved. I have some of the DVDs - you can buy them through the website. I have to say that I like the exercises, they make a lot of sense, BUT I find that so far (and I have about 5 of the DVDs with Sahra) cueing is a bit of a problem. I hate it when she does 4 reps on one side and 5 on the other, things like that. How hard is it to have someone on the other side of the camera keep count for you while you're talking and explaining?? (That's my version of your yoga frustration!)

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    3. P.S. Here is the website: http://www.essentrics.com/index.html There aren't that many classes around yet.

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    4. Thanks Patricia. I will definitely check out that website.

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  10. I too am not a yoga person Susan, even though I tried a number of times with classes and numerous yoga tapes at home. I could do most of the poses, but I just found it so boring! I need more active exercise like cycling, running and hiking as I love being outdoors and even aerobic classes indoors were enjoyable. I really liked Pilates though. Not sure why that didn't bore me like yoga did. And like you, I also am a bit competitive... or so I've been told. :)

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne. Mater suggested Pilates too. I wanted to try it but couldn't find a class that didn't involve a long drive. Guess there's not many Pilates devotees in my neck of the woods:)

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  11. Hi, I've been a silent reader until now but there is no way I could not comment on this post. I agree with you: yoga is not for everyone. I am 64 and in reasonably good shape. About 15 years ago I took a series of classes with a teacher who was understanding and patient, so I can't find fault there. But, every single time the poses got more intense and we had to hold a position for any length of time, I began to get nauseous. How weird is that? And after a class I almost always had a spell of low blood sugar and became trembly and sort of jittery. So, yoga was not enjoyable for me. Now...get me a good walking partner or biking partner and I can keep up with the best and never feel nauseous or weak. All I feel after working out like that is a good healthy tiredness and good appetite. Prior to biking and walking I do believe in doing some good stretches and warming up exercises and interestingly enough, none of that makes me nauseous or shaky. Just goes to show that something that works and is good for one person isn't necessarily good for another one. As for pretty yoga clothes, there are some really great biking clothes, too. Pedaling is practically effortless when wearing a cute little fitness skort. I got mine from L.L.Bean for only 39.95 and five star reviews. And last year I discovered Vibram Five Finger Barefoot shoes and I absolutely love them! Too bad you don't live closer--I'd love a biking partner! Judy

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    1. Funny you should say that about work-out clothes. When I retired, the teachers in my department gave me a gift certificate to Bushtukka, which is an outfitters store in Ottawa. And I bought new cycling shorts and a new top. Made biking so much easier.
      That's a very strange reaction you had to yoga, isn't it? I know the old adage about pain and gain... but jittery and nauseous can't be good. Glad you like biking better. And glad you stopped by to say hello:)

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  12. What a timely post. I sit here in pain from a hamstring injury, which can be attributed to holding a yin yoga pose far too long. A former marathoner and 10k racer, I have never had one injury despite some heavy demands on by body. Now, as a retiree, I thought yoga would be a good complement to my winter curling and cross country skiing activities . Ironically, I have been suffering for the past month and can barely walk the dog in the morning. Do I regret attending these classes? Absolutely.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, Mary. Stretching seems like such a benign activity... but as we have both learned can be quite damaging in certain cases for certain individuals. It's so hard to know in advance if something will cure you or harm you.

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  13. So sorry you had a bad experience with yoga. It's not YOU it's the teacher. If you are so inclined I highly recommend pilates preferably on a one to one with someone well qualified. Joseph Pilates based many of his movements on yoga. Check it out. I suffered from chronic back pain and pilates and yoga have done wonders for my 71 year old body.

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    1. Thanks, Geri, if I could find a pilates studio near me, I would try it. I'm still looking.

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  14. So glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't like yoga....I tried when I was young and then again when I retired and just don't get it! Boring and waste of time and money for me....I am fit and have done just about every type of fitness and I always return to cardio and weight training. I have discovered that I really enjoy following along with YouTube and there is an awesome selection of activities and levels to be found so that's where I'll be.....sweatin to the tunes!

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    1. I've been so surprised by the response to this post. And here I was thinking everyone loved yoga!

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  15. Another person who tried and tried yoga but never felt good..the final straw was when I had Plantar Fasciitis in my heel and every pose had me reeling in pain.. I had to give it up and haven't missed it!! And..my heel healed:) I also much prefer active- walking..biking..boating..lifting weights..I was annoyed by the woo woo factor..sounds rude, but I just didn't want to do it..another drop-out..Deborah

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    1. Ooooh, plantar fasciitis can be very painful. Poor you! I will admit that the mystical aspect of yoga was not an inducement to me either:)

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  16. Hi Susan-- Great post as usual! I never thought of myself as a yoga person either until I found an Iyengar teacher. Not sure about other methods but Iyengar is all about going slowly and finding the right modification (I could never imagine them throwing foam blocks and leaving you to figure it out!). I have been doing Iyengar yoga for 15 years and it has definitely helped with back pain. That being said, I do think that the right teacher in anything can make all the difference (if nothing else, finding someone with a sense of humor is critical!!!). I can also second the Pilates recommendation-- I always enjoy when I take a Pilates class. Have a great day, Beth

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    1. Thanks Beth. I haven't given up looking for something that may help my muscle tightness...I mean something other than physio. It's just hard to get back on a horse when it's thrown you a couple of times. The second foam block incident really did me in. I've noticed that that yoga studio has since closed. Hmmmm.

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  17. Just one more commenter here who agrees! I've tried it many times and it's not for me! I'm very active but like to BE active and this just doesn't do it for me. Yes….you have to find what's right for YOU!

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    1. Yes, you're absolutely right Libby. Whatever we do has to be right for us.

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  18. As a former Ottawan who also loves books and fashion I really enjoy reading your blog, but I couldn't resist chiming in on this topic. Have you considered trying Tai Chi? I have been doing it for 25 of my 55 years, and love it. Every teacher I have had (through the Taoist Tai Chi Society) has been excellent, and although I don't have any serious health issues they have always been very helpful and accommodating for students who do. When I did develop a shoulder problem a few years ago the physiotherapist who treated me thought that the tai chi had prevented it from progressing to frozen shoulder as it does for many people. I'm not sure how far you would have to drive to find a class, but it might be worth it. Beginners classes generally start every few months, and despite the Taoist moniker there is no religious or meditative focus in the classes at all.

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    1. I will check that out. Thanks for the idea.

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  19. As a former personal trainer and fitness instructor, I like to try out new exercise classes occasionally. There sure is a vast difference in instructors and some should not be certified or teaching classes! I've never enjoyed yoga classes. I've found yoga instructors to be self-absorbed and critical. I do like some yoga poses that I will do on my own at home. Stretching is so helpful as we age, but some of the yoga positions are far too extreme for many people. One of the strangest classes I signed up for was a yoga class at our botanic gardens (sounded wonderful and peaceful, right?). Well, the class took place in an old run-down building at the botanic garden on a cement floor with a bizarre instructor that hardly spoke and mostly did breathing exercises as though he was giving birth. An ENTIRE hour of watching this man breath loudly! I only went to the one class out of 10. You look great, Susan, so just keep on doing what you are doing and enjoy your fitness!

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    1. Thanks Joyce. I haven't given up finding a class of some sort that might suit me.

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  20. Fitness should be fun,not boring or punishment
    I never tried yoga
    I have regular exercises with my physical therapist, with elements of Pilates,it is a must but I like it too
    You seem very competent to me,you do all the right things to stay healthy and fit ,so just relax and enjoy-this is the main point!
    Dottoressa

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    1. Pilates seems to be quite well thought of as an alternative to yoga... now if I could only find a class near by. Meanwhile I'll stick to what's working (and fun) for me.

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  21. I am a size 18. Yoga class should be welcoming to everyone. It isn't. I've tried and failed to find anyone without a thigh gap teaching it. That alone isn't a problem, but not knowing anything about how to help a motivated but overweight person is off-putting. I'm not someone who needs chainsawed out of my house! I work out, but yoga just was not a good fit. Plus I'm 54. I could see my Mom at 80 and similar in build being shut out of every class she tried (and she originally did yoga in the 1950s!!!) but I didn't think I rated treatment as an Ancient of Days-type. Apparently I was wrong! Every class seems to be for 25 year olds with perfect bodies. Sad. I also got the giggles during "rest matt time", i.e. mindful breathing or whatever they call it now. So, if I keep trying yoga it will be at home only. I'm glad I'm not alone in not liking yoga. I'm freak-enough in this country not enjoying coffee! Great post!

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    1. All fitness classes should be welcoming, in my view. I think that what Frances says below is so true... it depends on the philosophy and values of the studio owner. And good (and empathtic) instructor is gold.

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  22. I'm so sad that so few of your readers have had the chance to go to a really supportive, loving yoga studio that helps everyone modify their practice to suit individual bodies. My husband and I were so very lucky to find that at Omtown Studios in Nanaimo, BC, and we'll be trying to find a new studio here in Vancouver. There are so many wonderful yoga instructors, it's such a shame to see the possibilities of the practice so diminished because of the poor ones. Our classes included a very wide range of abilities, with some considerably overweight, some well into their 70s, some with special needs, both physical and mental -- all were treated equally, and we were encouraged not to concern ourselves with how others were doing the poses but to work with what served our bodies well in that moment. I so wish that more of you could experience a studio or at least a class like that, but I do recognise that yoga isn't everyone's cup of tea. . .

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    1. You're right of course. I think that there are probably great yoga teachers in my city. A good friend has just finished her yoga teacher training for a very specific kind whose name I can't remember. I just remember when we talked about it a few months ago, she was quick to mention that it mainly focussed on the elements that I wouldn't like. She knows me so well! Thanks for wading in here in defense of good instructors, Frances.

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    2. I too, as a long-time yoga practitioner, am saddened by so many comments about truly horrible experiences in yoga classes. I suspect one problem is that as yoga has become popularized, westernized and monetized, in some studios it has been turned into a "workout" experience. That is not yoga, that's "yoga," and that's where people get hurt and turned off.

      Yoga (meaning yoke or union), is an opportunity to connect the mind and body and during practice it should NEVER hurt or feel wrong for *your* body. I realize after reading these comments that I've been so fortunate to only ever experience teachers who accepted all ages, body types and abilities, and always have come around the room and offered gentle encouragement, adjustments and/or alternative poses. Every body has unique structural elements and needs - there is no one-pose-fits-all, not even for the most advanced yogis. Like @materfamilias, I wish at least some of you who have been disillusioned could experience a real yoga class that leaves you feeling utterly awakened, rejuvenated and looking forward to the next session. -Catbird Farm

      PS> Grounded By Yoga in Canandaigua and Bloomfield, NY is wonderful! Also, online (YouTube) videos can be a way of testing the waters in the privacy of your own home. Yoga by Adriene is a good starting point - she's adorable!

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    3. I can only speak for the two yoga studios I visited, and the few classes I tried there but I feel that you are right about the effects of popularity. The article from the New York Times gives details of the exponential growth of yoga at least in the U.S. in the last decade or so. I am going to have a look at those You Tube videos you mention. Thanks.

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  23. Thank you for a great post - a timely reminder to be ourselves and not get caught up in what everyone else is doing. We know our bodies better than anyone, and should always follow our instincts. The most important thing is to find an activity you love so that you keep doing it. I happen to love yoga, had an excellent instructor for many years, and now enjoy it in the privacy (and convenience) of my own home. I really notice the joint aches and pains when I stop practicing for any length of time. Enjoy your walking, biking and paddling this summer!

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    1. Thanks Lisa. I know that I got caught up in the idea of yoga without actually thinking through what I'd be doing in a class. I'm much better doing my stretching on my own.

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  24. I so relate to this! I live in Guelph where apparently everybody loves yoga... except for me. I've tried many different classes over the years, some taught by friends who are instructors, some highly recommended, but I could never get in to it, was bored to tears... I recently joined a studio around the corner for this amazing barre (a ballet/pilates mix) class that I love, but with the cost of membership I thought I'd try the moksha yoga classes they offer as well, and I can't believe it but I really love it. It's hot yoga which I always thought would have me passing out but I should have remembered how much I love a sauna, it's like holding poses in a sauna, and the sweating actually feels amazing. The same poses are done each class and so far all of the instructors have had good senses of humour and been helpful with correcting my poses. Smiling and laughing is encouraged and I always leave feeling better than when I arrived. I think yoga is hit and miss and maybe many styles have to be tried before finding one that fits.
    Like Patricia and Sarah above I do Classical Stretch/Essentrics, have done for years, they are great workouts but Patricia makes a good point that the cues are off which can be annoying (the teacher Miranda Esmonde-White has talked about being dyslexic, not sure if that contributes to her trouble with counting and cues but I'm guessing it does, these things should be corrected on the workouts for sure). The latest DVD, "Full Body Mobility" is geared to keeping us fit as we age so we can keep doing other athletic activities, it's quite good and each workout is 23 minutes so very easy to fit in at home. I find it keeps me limber for barre which is a very challenging workout. You are very active outdoors and you might find you like it for the amazing stretches and joint care.

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    1. Oh hot yoga.... I can't even imagine doing that. I am not good in heat, can't stay in a sauna for more than two or three minutes, and hot tubs only if they're outside. I do not sweat much even when I'm exercising... and so just get hotter, and redder, and hotter. Still... I've not given up entirely that I may find some class that suits me. I see that a new fitness facility has opened a few minutes away from me. I may go for a tour and the sales pitch in the fall to see what they offer.

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  25. I love CrossFit and find yoga frustrating. I've had one yoga teacher that I loved, but her style was much more about sensual grounding in the body than stretches and headstands, and I studied with her at a time I was trying to connect with my body in a non-harmful way. Basically, it was a contextual love. :) I prefer lifting heavy things, running and jumping. :)

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    1. Running and jumping are right up my alley too.... although my knees don't like running so much. Thanks for stopping by Shawna.

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.