I am plastic. No, not the cosmetic surgery kind of plastic, I meant the non-flexible (or rather non-elastic?) kind. I was reminded (painfully) how plastic my body actually is during a yoga class session in the university gym last Friday.
When I first joined a yoga class more than 3 years ago, I realised that I am extremely unflexible and yoga was really, I mean really difficult and painful for me. I was the only student with her knees sticking upwards when doing the simplest almost un-yoga sitting pose. While doing the forward bend, my finger tips were almost 2 inches away from my toes no matter how hard I try to painfully stretch further. Other students, including aunties were touching their toes with the centre of their palms or grasping their feet with elbows touching the ground.
Yes I was that bad. However, I was stubborn and continued to attend classes 3 times a week to improve my flexibility. After about 6 strenuous weeks, my fingers were about an inch from my toes instead of two. Yup, still not touching and but it was slowly getting easier! It’s a shame I had to stop the sessions after 6 weeks.
I must acknowledge that yoga indeed increased my overall body strength and helped a lot with relaxation which in turn helped me sleep better at night. That was why when I found out that the university gym is offering yoga classes, I was eager to join. It somehow slipped my mind that it has been 3 yoga-less years and that I should have considered the age factor. Last Friday’s 90-minute yoga session felt like a year of torture…!
Again, I was the only one with the knees sticking out during warm up and I felt like my ham-strings were going to be torn while doing the forward bend. I was in too much pain to notice how many inches away I was from my toes. By the end of the warm up section, I was already panting. Then the instructor wanted us to do this:
With my head upside down and my ankles refusing to touch the floor, the instructor came up behind me and pulled my hips to towards herself to help me. Holy-moly I felt like my legs were going to snap at that very moment. The pull on my calves was so strong and no matter how hard she tried, my ankles stayed up! She had to give up in the end.
Moving on to the next one, no matter how hard I try to pull myself, my body wouldn’t bend one bit during the bow pose (below). It just wouldn’t budge. It was as if my chest and thighs were glued to the floor.
Several other stretchy and twisty beginner poses later left me weak and ready to give up. My limbs were faint and I could hardly even hold the cobra pose properly (below). My arms were literally shaking. As the instructor went “Be aware of your body, concentrate and breathe”, all I could think was “Let me die, let me die now please!”
Alas, the only pose I was able to perform accurately and effortlessly towards the end of the session was…..the corpse pose. (Hahahaha….!!)
After 10 minutes of relaxation in the corpse pose, the session ended. Finally….! As I pulled my body up, I could already feel the strain I had put my body through the last 90 minutes. To be fair, I slept like a baby that night. I think it was due more to exhaustion than yoga itself. No more yoga for me (a shame I know). I am too old and plastic to do it all over again!
Do you practise yoga or are you a plastic like me?
*All images from http://www.yogajournal.com