Sep 04 2013

“Daniel, do you want to go yoga with me this Saturday night?” My wife asked me.

“Nope.”

“But it’s glow in the dark…”

“Really? Cool. I guess I’ll go.”

It was a Glow Flow at Power Yoga Hawaii across the street from Ala Moana above Ichiriki, which is an awesome Japanese nabe restaurant.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done Yoga and I already knew I was in for something really different, just by the name alone.

Let’s just say Yoga isn’t something that I would normally choose to do.  Just like some may think that people who like to lift weights are meat heads, I think Yoga people are hippy and very bendy.

My wife loves yoga but I secretly wish she would rather lift weights.  But like any supportive husband would, I decided I’d become a yogi for the night.  Remember, happy wife leads to a happy life.  Now when it comes to yoga and I, we are distant friends.  I’ve had my run-ins with yoga and needless to say, I got my ass kicked by it.  I’ve never sweated or felt my muscles shake so much in my life from just holding certain positions.

So there I was giving yoga another try.  When we arrived at the studio, there were people already gathered outside the doors as if we were heading into a night club.  Usually I would be one of the few guys in there but this time there was a good amount.

Someone from the studio came out with a glowy personality and a bunch of glow-in-the-dark paint for everyone to start marking up our bodies.  Already, I was preparing myself for something out there.

Then the doors open…

Black lights lined the room, there was a DJ in the corner playing some beats, several instructors smiling and full of positivity and bubbly-ness.  This was already something I wasn’t used to.  As my wife and I along with a couple of our other friends found a spot it felt more like we were getting prepared for a rave and I should have brought some glow sticks .

There was no turning back – it was time to Glow Flow

And it began, I was downward facing dog, warrior posing, Half mooning, planking, doing chaturanga, and working my way up to a head stand.

That’s right. I was able to do a frickin’ head stand.

Then at some point during the flow of poses, I thought:

1) I can’t stop sweating and I’m not doing much

2) I have tight muscles and my mobility sucks

3) I actually kind of like yoga

Okay, so maybe I have to publicly announce – Everyone can benefit from doing Yoga, even the so called gym rat or meat-head.

Why You Should Try Yoga?

Let me make this clear. I’m not a yoga expert or an avid yogi, these are things that I realized from my personal experiences.

1) Mobility and Flexibility

Doing yoga, reminds me how tight I am and lack of mobility I have.  I’m stubborn when it comes to these two because I’d rather just get after it and start lifting.  But without the proper mobility and flexibility within your muscles and joints, you are setting yourself up for injury.  By improving your mobility and flexibility, you increase your movement efficiency which will help you in performing your lifts.

One of the biggest problems I came across was the lack of my upper body flexibility and a sorry case of hip mobility.  There were a few poses during the Glow Flow, where I felt every muscle shaking.  I was told it was the tension and negativity in my body that is trying to free itself.

2) Correct Breathing

I noticed I suck at breathing.  I tend to hold my breath in and forget to exhale.  Yes I know, weird.  But when I did yoga, I became more aware of my breath by inhaling and exhaling with each movement.  I also had to refrain from breathing into my chest which is what the majority of us a have a tendency to do.  I’ve learned that many lifters have so much tightness in the chest and shoulders simply because they breathe wrong and I am one that can attest to that.

3)  Balance

I can’t stand watching people do exercises on unstable surfaces like a bosu ball.  My rule of thumb is – if you can’t perform an exercise on a stable surface, you have no right on trying to do it on an unstable surface.  But in yoga, from going through a flow of poses you have to become aware of your body and it’s movement in space.  Yoga made me listen to my body and really focus on my creating a solid foundation from the ground up.  I was actually surprised I could do a handstand, but I had a hard time standing in a pose where I had to use one leg.

4) Bodyweight Strength

Being a lifter, I use weights as my tool for training.  In Yoga, you mainly use your body.  There was a movement where the instructor went from a headstand, slowly flexed at the hips and lowered her legs until they were parallel with the ground, held it there, and then raised her legs to straight up.  I was impressed.  That’s a lot of strength.  As much as I like to train with weights, Yoga reminded me that the best tool you have is your body.

5) Inner Glow

Maybe it’s the Yogi inside of me, but I felt awesome after the Glow Flow.  I was relaxed but felt I had a great workout.  Maybe it was because I found my inner glow. The part I always look forward to in yoga is the shavasana - which is the final resting pose.  I think it was the calming voice of the instructor guiding you towards deep relaxation.  At Glow Flow, the instructor started from relaxing the toes all the way to relaxing the cheeks ( not butt cheeks, although they were relaxed too) .  Her soothing voice continued to calm me as she told the class to imagine you’re laying on a cloud, and that’s when she lost me…

I drifted away on a white unicorn through the clouds towards the sunset.  A flower bloomed right before my eyes. Only to be brought back to life by my wife knocking me in the shoulder because I was snoring and everyone was already sitting up.

I’m sure there are many more reasons you should try yoga, but I want to challenge you to go out and give it a try if you haven’t before.  I do not foresee yoga becoming my primary way of training.  Lifting weights will always be a my number one.  But I do see myself doing more yoga in the future because the benefits are too good to ignore.

Now if you still feel like there’s no way you’ll try yoga because you think it’s weak-sauce, only girls do it, and it could take away from your manliness – then get off the damn high horse, take a chill pill, throw your ego out the door and Namaste!

Aloha!

Side note: If you live in Hawaii or ever visiting and want a cool place to do yoga that is welcoming and has a kick ass vibe to it, then I would recommend you check out Power Yoga Hawaii next to Ala Moana Shopping Center.  They offer all sorts of classes and put on solid events with their own unique flare to them.

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