Last night I missed my Zumba class. When I went to sign up online the class was already full, probably due to the influx of New Years Resolutionists. I really dislike trying to find space for myself in an overfull classroom and I didn’t want to be one of those people who shows up even though they already know the limit on people has been met – so I stayed home. Also, it was really cold outside and I was curled up under a blanket watching Ender’s Game.
In better news, a month ago I started practicing Yoga when one of my fellow gym-goers pointed out to me that it improves the quality of her sleep. The beginner’s class is conveniently situated immediately following Thursday night Zumba, so I gave it a try.
For a long time I’ve had reasons for why I didn’t want to try Yoga. First and foremost: it does not burn a lot of calories. This remains true; an hour long Yoga session for someone of my size burns somewhere under the 200 calorie mark – however, when I add Yoga to my existing schedule of three hours of Zumba, two minimum two mile walks, and one weight lifting session per week, that argument becomes invalid. The point of Yoga isn’t to burn calories but to provide other healthy benefits (similar to why I lift weights). I do other things to burn lots of calories.
I also thought that it would be too frustrating for me to move slowly, and that my balance is extremely poor. Since my Yoga class is immediately following one of my Zumba classes it’s actually nice to slow down after jumping around for an hour. My balance being poor? Well, yeah – that’s a problem. No way around it.
Three things I’ve noted about Yoga so far: the first is that people involved in this practice are extremely kind and helpful, even people other than the teacher are very encouraging. The second is that I’m phenomenally bad at this. Partially because of my aforementioned lack of balance, but my body is also an unwieldy size and shape for Yoga. A big part of it is learning to smoothly transition between poses and right now that’s totally impossible for me. I fall out of one pose and hit the mat with an embarrassing thud, then pick myself up and brace for the next. I know that people of my size can do it correctly because I’ve seen them, I figure it’s just a matter of building the appropriate strength for the task – and building strength is one of my goals in doing this anyway, so more’s the better. Lastly, when I point my feet (which you have to do in a lot of poses) the bottoms of them immediately and painfully cramp. I don’t know if that’s a flat-footed person problem or a beginner problem but… OW. It sucks.
On the positive side it turns out I’m pretty flexible. Either because I was already stretching a lot for my other activities or because it’s a side effect of the unusually loose ligaments in my body, something an Orthopedic Doctor noticed while treating me for one of my numerous ankle-turning injuries.
Is it embarrassing to be the one in class that can do the least? Yup. It bugs me to no end. But I’ve been told a few times now that my competitive instinct couldn’t be further out of place in this particular sport, so I need to focus a lot less on what is hard for me that everyone else seems to find easy and look deeper for little improvements in myself.
In short: I’m way out of my comfort zone with this one, but I’m not giving up.