Yoga: Year One

I’ve been practicing yoga for about a year now. A year is a reasonable amount of time. After a year, one would hope, you would start to see and feel the benefits. So what are these benefits? Well, it’s difficult to say. Am I more flexible? Well maybe, I don’t know. I would assume so, but I can’t say I’ve noticed a big change.

One of the issues I sighted in an earlier article was my short hamstrings. I’d hoped that yoga would lengthen these. I had high hopes of executing equally high kicks with my impressive flexibility, it hasn’t happened. This is not to say it won’t, it is just to say, as of yet, no discernible improvement.

I imagine I’m stronger as a result of yoga. It is taxing. I certainly feel the strain after a yoga class, but, then again, I do go to the gym three or four times a week. So I’m not sure the yoga adds that much more value in this area.

I have noted in a previous article the huge benefit yoga has given my meditation. This has been a clear shift in concentration and perhaps in increasing my physical tolerance for sitting meditation of upwards of an hour.

More than anything else, I have felt the release in my muscles. The Wing Chun training and weight exercises bring so much tension to the body that yoga is my release. It’s the pressure value that taps away all the strains of the week. It hurts like hell, my legs often scream in discomfort, particularly my tightly wound shins. However, after the class, I feel renewed, ready to go out and pile all that tension back on.

It is perhaps because of my other pursuits that my progress in yoga has been slow. If one minute I’m compacting my body in a weighted leg press, I can hardly be surprised when I aren’t becoming more flexible.

While I may not have achieved the heights of mobility I search, I am aware of a greater fluidity. When I move, be it walking or running, I am aware of a looser ease in the motion. It seems to engage more muscles, as though more has been activated by my hours on the yoga mat.

I am strict with my gym routine and Wing Chun training. I can tell you, for example, that I’ve spent four hundred hours in Wing Chun classes over the past two years, but yoga, less so. It’s my most relaxed activity. I don’t push it. This week I did three hours; next week it might be one. Yoga is my slow burner. I use it to rebuild. One year on, I feel kind of dependent on it, how else could I keep everything else up?

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