Teaching An Old Dog A New Trick

LiveWell (Jen Tucker and Molly Steber) asked me to write a blog about my experience with taking yoga classes at Zuda Yoga. I started taking classes about a year ago because my wife (Ms. Steber) and daughters wanted me to give it a try. The thought of taking a yoga class had always been laughable to me because at times I tend to be closed-minded and ill-informed. I thought yoga was something practiced by hippies (I know I am dating myself here) who are into healing crystals and can bend as if they are made of rubber. I am sure there are a few of these types that practice yoga, but most of the people I have been around in yoga classes are really nice people who seem normal. For the record, I am not saying pliable hippies into crystals are not nice people.

The family kept pressure on me to go and I finally decided I would go once so I could tell them yoga was not for me. Well, I could not have been more wrong about yoga. It really is a tremendous way to become stronger, more flexible, and is a great way to relieve stress. I now understand and appreciate why so many world class athletes in various sports practice yoga.  I am still trying to figure out how to do the poses and I often look like I have been drinking and am failing all balancing field sobriety tests (FSTs) due to being intoxicated (I know what you are thinking, but I really am sober during yoga class). I try my best to do the poses and I definitely feel stronger and more limber. I highly recommend giving yoga a try.

For those of you who will have get outside of your comfort zone to try yoga, I feel your pain and understand the anxiety. If you think about it too much you will probably not do it.  So, let me cut to the chase- get over it and get to class. Please and thank you.

Here are a few things to know before you get started. First of all, there are many different types of yoga and poses. But, you don’t need to worry about that because you will go to class and learn as you go. Some of the poses they do at Zuda Yoga are: mountain, plank, crow, triangle, tree, warrior 1 and 2, and camel, just to name a few. You can look them up on the internet and there are plenty of videos explaining how to do them. There are a couple of poses you should definitely “master” before you go to your first class. These are “downward facing dog” and “child’s pose.” You will end up doing the downward facing dog pose several times during the class and child’s pose is a great way to relax (for sure).

The class I usually attend is a Power Vinyasa class which is in a heated room (95 degrees). I know this working out in this kind of heat sounds insane and that was my first thought too.  However, you will learn the heat is great because your muscles get more relaxed and you sweat the toxins out. Plus, at the end you will feel tired and relaxed at the same time. You have to experience this before you will understand what I am talking about. When you show up for class bring water, a yoga mat, and a yoga towel to put on the mat. You should also bring a small towel to wipe sweat out of your eyes from time to time.

When you finally get to class (I know you will), I recommend going to the back of the room so you can observe others in front of you doing the poses (good way to learn them).  You will likely feel self-conscious of how you look doing the poses, but trust me when I tell you nobody cares.  Zuda instructors stress the fact the class is for you to work as much or as little as you want. There is absolutely no pressure to perform a certain way at this studio. The staff and students are friendly people and they don’t judge. Sometimes, when I am completely spent during class (it happens), I will lay on my back and go to sleep. That is definitely a great way to relax.

In conclusion, don’t wait to give yoga a try. Zuda Yoga has been generous and is offering us free yoga lessons. The details of this offer are on the LiveWell website. If you have any questions about yoga or what to expect, please send me an email. I will try my best to answer your questions (I am a novice at this you know). Don’t be shy to reach out and ask questions. If I don’t know the answer, I will probably ask one of the Zuda instructors what the answer is (our own Jen Tucker). Thanks for reading all of this and live well my friends.

By: Michael A. Neves 

Assistant District Attorney