On Friday I attended an Ashtanga yoga class. It was a level 1 class. Even still, students of all levels, including (the very) advanced participate to brush up on their skills and impress the newbies.
When you practice yoga, the first thing you might notice is how quickly your muscles loosen up. Before the class, you could not even touch your toes. By the end it’s possible to fold yourself in to a pretzel, while balancing on your head. With the advanced students doing their thing, it’s pretty easy to become ultra ambitious and want to try everything.
After my first class I could not move for a week. The muscle soreness was intense! Not in a good way either. The thing is, my muscles were warmed up from the class. They were not magically flexible. Forcing myself in to postures my body was not conditioned for, to “keep up” with the class was a big mistake.
This time around I went at my own pace. I’m only really sore in my hamstrings from the downward dog. Every other muscle feels worked but not insanely stiff and painful. “Good hurt!”
I’m writing about these experiences because I know anybody that has attended a fitness class has felt the same way. Group classes are meant to motivate and push you. It’s up to the individual to decide their limits and pace themselves. An instructor won’t be able to tell if you are pulling every muscle in your body or you are bending your injured shoulder the wrong way.
I’ve known people that have fainted, thrown up and have been hurt pretty badly in classes because they were too embarrassed to slow down or tell the instructor their limitations. Just remember it is a class for your benefit. Do what’s right for you.
Pace Yourself In Classes!
Personal Training Specialist