Yesterday I went to yoga for the first time at the Colby AC and overall it was a really positive experience. I wasn’t sure that I was doing the poses right, but the instructor was very helpful and had a soothing presence. I have done some yoga before at home and I tried my best this time, but I was in pain in strange muscles I didn’t even know I had. It wasn’t so much that I felt like I was pulling muscles, just finally using ones I hadn’t before. It turns out that even though I struggled through a few parts, I still felt very centered at the end and I felt successful in that I pushed myself to do as much as I could.
At one point in the yoga session we were doing a stretch that was almost identical to the sit and reach one that we did for the fitness test. To my surprise I could hardly touch my ankles – usually I can easily touch my toes. I had planned to do a long run later and I was worried that I had somehow gotten tighter by doing this yoga class. So not the case.
When I went to run a few hours later I stretched out even better than I normally do and with much more ease. I could touch my toes again and I felt less pull when I did my normal routine, especially in my hamstrings where I tend to be tightest. I also ran much faster. I was looser and experienced less pain. I ran longer than I had expected and had an overall very successful workout. I felt so good after that I even lifted some as well.
I think the yoga was helpful in stimulating groups of muscles that I hadn’t been using, and additionally it definitely was effective in motion muscle memory. I felt like the series of movements in the flow of yoga, though more challenging did a far better job of stretching me out and strengthening my body. I am excited to go to more yoga classes at the AC and hopefully get better at the positions! I definitely recommend trying it if you are trying to improve flexibility or even just muscular strength.