Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Holistic Captain

After months of severe back pain that pretty much crapped over my racing season, I finally have started to feel better. I'm way to young at 31 to have this much back pain, so after countless dollars in Chiropractors & doctors, the only real conclusion is that I have a muscle imbalance that leads to some asymmetry that makes certain muscles work harder than the others to stabilize myself, especially on the bike.

The most marked improvement came from moving my position on the bike so my saddle is more aft & more of my ever growing weight (damn beers) is supported by my legs & pelvis on the saddle & less on my arms & lower back. An added bonus is that it looks more PRO to have your seat slammed back, hell they ride thousands of miles, so I'm sure their back knows whats up.

So fast forward to yesterday. I finally stopped talking about going & actually went to Yoga at the Weight Club. After 1.5 hours of in the gym doing some leg work, triceps extensions, & riding the bike I felt ready to see what all the yoga fuss is about. Luckily, I would not lose my yoga cherry alone. Local cycling hot shot, Mr. Johnny D., met me as he is a former yoga disciple. Also present was a super fast old guy, Steve from Just the Right Gear who has been telling me to go to yoga since my back problems arose. Yeah yeah I should have listened. So I grab a mat, lose the shoes, and get ready for God knows what.

First thing I notice is the mix of the class, a fair amount of dudes & ladies. That's good I think. Equal mix. As we progress into some positions that I knew & some I didn't it became clear that there was also a mix of abilities in class. Fortunately I would not be the only oddball to not be able to hold some positions.

The music is peaceful & relaxing, and after getting over all the nice ladies present I set into the rhythm on the music & positions. What I did not expect was to work up a sweat. Not just a light, "well I am exercising" sweat, but a "holy shit, I have sweat dripping off my face" sweat. I think it must be the thermostat jacked up, so I look over at the wall, 69 degrees. Ha, 69, when is that position coming? I get my mind back out of the gutter & progress to more intense positions, sweat dripping, muscles aching, damn this shit is hard! Then we flow into a routine where I learned how important your breathing is. Controlling your breathing truly helps in your balance, so not only are you working your muscles but your lungs, your heart rate, etc. I had no idea I would get beat down by yoga.

Then we move into this:

No freaking way!!! But with focused mind, controlled breaths, and a tightly clinched sphincter (memo to self, no more damn rice & beans before yoga), the Capt gives it his best. And a 1, fail. And a 2, fail. And a 3, holy crap I'm flying! The Capt is airborne. Once perched high in the sky like a great retarded bird, I calm my breaths & focus & miraculously I hold my recently beer engorged butt skyward, somewhat like sticking my ass out to gravity saying, the Capt is a stronger force than you gravitational constant = 6.67300 × 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2.

By now the pace has slowed, the tantric music is still pumping & I just had a nocturnal emission in daylight. The lights dim, & we relax, focusing on nothing. And it was in this nothingness that I actually felt 2 minutes of inner peace. I was taken back to memories of sailing over a beautiful island surrounded by the bluest of blue water, my body like a leaf in the warm breeze blowing helpless to the light windy current.

The lights go on, and our session is over. I felt more balanced, not only physically but mentally (which if you know the Capt. is not easy to do). I smile a goodbye at the cute girl next to me & leave satisfied knowing that while I did wait too long to start this, there is no time like the present to enjoy a new found challenge.


Jennifer said...

You are such a tree hugger.
have you bought your own personalized yoga mat, yet?

Dan R. said...

Uncle Dan is hoping Santa will bring me a customized Forest Green yoga mat. For the name embossed, "STUD".