As a Yoga teacher, I have been pestering my dad to try his first yoga class for years. Whenever he moans about an ache or niggle to me, the first thing I suggest is a yoga pose as I dive into a long list of the benefits of yoga and meditation.
The truth is, many men don’t even get a chance to experience the benefits of yoga. The main reason? In the West, yoga has earned a reputation of being for women – even though traditionally yoga was taught by men for men! It takes a confident guy to walk into a class full of women. Unfortunately, I don’t live close enough to teach my dad regularly, and although my dad was curious about yoga, he didn’t feel confident enough or motivated enough to go to a local yoga class.
So, I signed him up to Yogaia! Then I asked him about his experience over a cup of tea in our garden…
Robyn: What were your preconceptions of yoga before the class?
Steve (Robyn’s Dad): I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. I know what yoga is, roughly: stretching and breathing. I’ve seen videos of yoga but was curious to do it at home. I didn’t have too many expectations really, more just curiosity. And of course, I have heard its good for me from a certain someone!
R: So, what made you want to try it?
S: I want to keep as fit as I can, for as long as I can. To counter not doing any exercise, increase core strength and flexibility. It’s not so much about stress relief for me, it’s mostly physical. My meditation is sitting and chilling to music, which I can do on my own. What I really want is to increase fitness and feel healthier.
R: What were your first impressions once the class started?
S: I thought it was really good! I did the 10 minute Morning Stretch with Franzi which I think was a great class to start with. I couldn’t do one of the poses with my wrists as they don’t turn that way! I found the class surprisingly easy, especially because it was a recording so I could pause it whenever I wanted and rewind when I missed something or didn’t understand. This really helped me as I could pause the pose and then get myself in and re-start the class.
It really helped that the teachers changed positions a lot so I could see the poses, as I didn’t know the names for any of them. I wanted a little more when I finished so I went on to do Shanine’s Stretch and Shine class too, which was great. For me, it felt just as good as having a teacher with me whilst doing the recordings, but I could take it at my own pace.
R: Would you do a live class?
S: For now the recordings are enough for me to start with. I would like to do a couple more of these before joining a live class, so I can go at my own pace. I also got a cramp during the class today, so it was great to be able to pause as I had to shake about a bit before I continued. I think I would like to try a live class especially if I don’t have to have the camera on… but just not quite yet!
R: What surprised you about doing yoga with Yogaia, online?
S: I was surprised how it really feels like you’re in a live class with the teachers from a recording. The way the teachers teach and turn around is good. I stretched muscles I don’t usually stretch. For example whilst sitting with my feet together on the floor, I didn’t realise that the mobility in my hips was really not good. I also didn’t realise that I was this tight, because I don’t do these positions.
I was also surprised how some of it felt very easy and some really hard. It definitely highlighted how much I needed it and how tight I was. Until today, I also didn’t appreciate how much the techniques of breathing affected the stretch. It was really interesting to try this and see how these techniques change the feel of the stretch.
R: What did you notice about how you felt before compared to after class?
S: The class made me feel more awake, and enthusiastic towards the day. I left me feeling energised and ready to move into the day. I could definitely feel the difference!
R: Would you try yoga again?
S: Definitely, I will be doing some again soon! I want to do it regularly so I can improve and get the benefits. I’m going to watch some of the class recordings and see what I fancy doing next. I also want to explore different types, I like stretching but also want more of a workout. Its early days, but I will definitely do some more. I’m going to try to get your mum to join me too!
Happy Hamstrings sounds like me, so I think I will try that next as I think my legs could do with that class! Some of the poses or directions left and right were confusing but to be able to stop, get ready and restart meant it didn’t matter.
If you (like me!) have been trying to get your dad on the mat, a great place to start is by joining him on the mat for our Sunday Stretch: Father’s Day Special on 18th June!
Hope to see you both there 🙂
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