Posted by: Ali | January 21, 2010

Fake Yoga, Revisited

So I have come to the conclusion that my yoga class, which I have continued to go to, is silly.  Really, really, silly.  Kate said that there weren’t any yoga poses in the whole class, which is, you know, what yoga is about.  Almost all of it was doing random stretches, that, for the most part, either do nothing or may possibly be bad for you.

First of all, all of the stretching that the instructor leads is the bouncing kind, which I recalled being bad for you but couldn’t remember why until I looked it up.

Bouncing can cause microtrauma in the muscle, which must heal itself with scar tissue. The scar tissue tightens the muscle, making you less flexible, and more prone to pain. This type of repetitive, bouncing stretch is called Ballistic Stretching and it can strain your muscles and tendons because they aren’t quite warmed up yet.

Second of all, the instructor is older and apparently not as flexible as you’d hope a yoga instructor would be.  Thus, she can’t do all of the stretches and movements she wants us to do.  Add to that the fact that they are in Spanish, and you get an Ali that really doesn’t know what she’s supposed to be doing.  I might get told to “lie on my back and put my feet in the air” but beyond a general “feet above body” instruction I didn’t know anything more specific.  Straight legs or bent?  Pointed toes?  Elevation off the ground?  Legs together or apart?  Etc.  The instructor would snap if someone is doing something wrong, but since she wasn’t always doing the stretches with us it wasn’t helpful to know you were doing something wrong.

Third, and this part is my favourite, the stretches that were made up:

1. The Finger Dance

We would be told to push our fingertips against each other repeatedly, kinda like a real yoga pose but without actually accomplishing anything.

2. The Wrist Grab

Like a team building exercise, but with yourself.  Grasp your own wrists and pull against each other repeatedly.

3. The Monkey

Raise your arms up and down your sides, from waist to armpits.  Like you have a lot of bug bites, or maybe like you are a monkey.

4. The Exorcism

My personal favourite.  Squat, stick your tongue out, and spit out the bad spirits.  Like in Supernatural.


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