Working full time in a job which involves a lot of travel and teaching at Hot Yoga Edinburgh on the weekends doesn’t leave a lot of spare time, especially when you love Hot Yoga as much as I do and try to practice 4-5 times per week …
At the same time I’m conscious of how often I tell people that adding a yoga class or two to their own busy life would be very beneficial, both in enhancing their sports performance, but also in improving their concentration and general wellbeing. A few weeks ago I decided to take my own advice and try out some other sports (as well as keeping up my Yoga practice).
So two weeks ago I turned up for a Spinning class taught by one of our regular Hot Yoga students. I brought my husband along for moral support (and to carry me out of the studio if my legs gave way after the workout). Our instructor showed us how to set up the bikes and then we were off! I was a little nervous beforehand as I knew it was going to be a challenging class, but I was really pleased with how well it went. What I noticed straight away was how well I was breathing … I know this might sound fairly obvious, but there was something therapeutic about the rhythm of my legs working and being able to focus completely on my inhales and exhales. We focus strongly on breathing in our Hot Yoga classes and I was delighted that it translated so well into cycling too. The class was well structured with ‘uphills’ and ‘flat’ sections which kept your body guessing about the effort needed. I made it through the whole class, although my thighs were screaming at me by the end, and I had no idea how much you use your arms while cycling, so I was aching all over by the end of the class. For the last few minutes our Instructor slowed things right down and gave us some Yoga stretches to do to finish off, explaining to the students what each stretch was doing for the body. I loved that he had brought some of his Yoga practice into the Spin class, and the stretches lended themselves perfectly to the class. I am delighted to confirm that I did NOT fall off the bike and even managed to walk unaided out of the studio, I’m sure that our Hot Vinyasa classes had built up my strength enough to cope with the class, but the strong focus on legs, arms and back was really fun and I will definitely go back to another Spin class!
Continuing my efforts to try new things, Heini and I ran the 5k EMF race in Edinburgh last week. Again it was lovely to have a friend with me for moral support, and we really enjoyed the run, which follows the road around Arthurs Seat in the centre of Edinburgh. It was a beautiful day and the views were spectacular, which helped take your mind off of the long uphill climb. Once again I enjoyed allowing my feet to pound the track while I focussed on my breath. We finished the 5k in 30 minutes which was greatly helped by the crowds of supporters, including some of our own students, it made all the difference in the last few metres to hear someone shout “Hot Yoga Edinburgh” as we went past! I was curious about how I’d find the race, as it starts with a long uphill but finishes with a fun downhill so that you can pick up some speed. I found the last 5 minutes of the uphill really tough and wanted to slow down to a walk, but I kept breathing and focussed on putting one foot in front of the other. I took the advice of a good friend who had said to break the run down into bite size chunks, so I’d focus on making it to the next tree, then the next group of supporters, etc, and it really worked. Heini and I made it round without stopping and we even managed the sprint finish (ok, quite a slow sprint vs some other competitors, but we were happy with it!)
I really enjoyed pushing myself and trying new things. Taking myself out of my comfort zone was liberating and I was very pleasantly surprised with how well my body coped with these challenging sports. I am looking forward to trying out some more new types of exercise in the future, and continuing to push myself and expand my comfort zone.
Have you found Yoga has helped in your sports performance, and if so, in what ways? Or is Yoga more about your general wellbeing? Let us know your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you!