Friday, April 23, 2010

Hooked on hatha

At the start of 2010, I drew up a list of "healthy habits" I would try to develop throughout the year. One of them was to exercise more, and surprisingly (I say "surprisingly" because I am notoriously lazy when it comes to most forms of physical activity), I have been fairly successful with this resolution. Not only have I been going on evening walks around our village about twice a week on average, I actually took up yoga! There's a studio a block away from our office, the wonderfully well-run Pulse Yoga, and I have been attending their hatha classes about 2 to 3 times a week since January.

Hatha is a gentler, more basic form of yoga that Pulse recommends for beginners. When I attended the free trial session, I wasn't sure what to expect-- would they make me do a backbend straight off the bat? or stand on my head or something? Turned out some of the asanas (postures) were simple enough that I pulled them off on the first try
(the intimidating-sounding shoulder stand came pretty easily to me, in fact), while the more challenging ones were doable, if with a bit of difficulty. The instructor didn't make me attempt anything I wasn't ready for, and even with my weak knees (which I was concerned about prior to signing up for the class), I could still keep up with the rest of the students. I remember walking out of the studio that day with a sense of accomplishment. Hey, I can do yoga! Of course the following morning I woke up feeling sore and achey all over, but the feeling of satisfaction remained.

As I attend more classes, I'm getting more into yoga, and gradually feeling the benefits: I feel looser and stronger, and my breathing, balance, and posture have improved. I like that the weaker parts of my body (my knees, my upper arms) are getting worked out, and I can do some tougher poses now (2 weeks ago I managed the "plough" for the first time, and when my toes touched the ground I broke into an incredulous, proud grin). Moreover, I like the quiet "me" time I get during each session (I'm not the type to socialize before and after every class). The classes always start and end with a few minutes of silence, with us either lying down in "corpse" pose or sitting cross-legged with our eyes closed. This outer and inner quiet is very much welcome especially after a long day at the office.

I also appreciate that the instructors at Pulse are both encouraging and considerate-- they push you if you can go further, but they also adjust if you're a newbie, nursing an injury, or prone to back problems. They also correct your stances or poses, and constantly remind you to inhale and exhale. Pulse also maintains very clean facilities, and they're even thoughtful enough to put free amenities in the bathroom such as towels, hair ties, cotton buds and squares, and even sanitary napkins.

After using up 2 10-session passes (plus 2 free sessions) and purchasing 3 yoga mat towels from Aquazorb, I'm now about to enroll in Pulse's quarterly package (unlimited sessions for 3 months), which means I'm really committing to the practice of yoga. I never thought I'd one day be enjoying exercise this much, and such a... serene form of exercise too. At least that's one healthy habit I'll be sustaining for some time, and hopefully, getting better at while I'm at it.

Next goal: the "wheel" or backbend!


At Friday, April 23, 2010, Blogger ~PakKaramu~ said...

Visiting your blog


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