Thursday, January 24, 2008

Recharging the biological machinery

Tonight, I concluded an hour of circuit training with an hour of hatha yoga. Sun salutations. Triangle. Corpse pose. Pranayama (breathing techniques.) Chaturanga. The whole thing.

Been at least two years. Nothing serious since I moved to the Gulf Coast. In Atlanta, I spent almost four years studying Iyengar's style with Donna, at Yoga Salah. Did try a smaller studio down here. But the schedule and the location didn't work for me. So I abandoned yoga.

Until tonight.

It is amazing how it all subtly comes back to you in mid pose. I slipped into Ujjayi breathing without any conscious thought. I'd remember Donna's instructions telling me, "engage your knees, don't take shortcuts." I remembered to move my thoughts towards my worst muscles (hamstrings) and coax them into relaxing, dropping me slowing into deeper poses. All the old tricks slowly returned. It was like revisiting an old friend.

And the benefits quickly came back. The whole reason I became deeply involved with yoga:
  • After sitting at a computer for 8 - 12 hours a day, yoga rapidly uncompresses my spine. Twists and lengthening poses are the only thing I've ever tried that can loosen the concrete of muscles around my lower back.

  • Adults rarely breathe right. Watch how children breathe. They FILL their lungs. They draw breath down into their belly. And when they sleep, they are completely relaxed, breathing deeply and letting go of all their anxieties and fears. Adults have to focus and practice to achieve the same results. Yoga does that for me.

  • Yoga poses and techniques help create additional space and draw more blood into our internal organs and core muscles. It helps recharge our biological machinery. Not to be overly graphic, but I've never been as "regular" as when I've been practicing yoga. I digest better, I feel better, I think I move better and I can relax more. Without booze, I've never been able to get there, until I found yoga.
On the way back to the car, I had a clarity of thought I haven't had in ages. My shoulders were relaxed. My legs weren't aching. I was completely invigorated.

I felt good.

And I want to keep feeling this way.
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