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Help! Will I get better at this?(18 Posts)
Hi all - I would be grateful for some advice. I'm 41, had a baby a year ago, reasonably fit and healthy and until a couple of weeks ago I was running 10-12km every other day. Injury struck - painful lower back and calf - and I think is caused by the fact that I'm incredibly un-flexible. My hamstrings are crazy tight and I have a feeling that I should have been doing some work on my flexibility and strength to help my running.
I have access to the peloton app through health insurance so tonight I decided to try a yoga class, thinking that, if I stick at it, it will help with my flexibility, strength and balance.
It was a 30 minute beginners class but it was so, so hard. I struggled to get into the poses and can't touch my forehead to my knee or place my palms on the floor with my legs straight. My muscles and tendons must be far too tight.
How often should I do a class in order to get better at this? Should I do 30 minutes every night? Or am I too old to improve my flexibility? I feel so deflated!
Give it time. Yoga is something you get better at bit by bit. It will definitely help your running and flexibility. I've been doing yoga for years and can't get my nose to my knees. We are all built differently and can do different things well. I find it easy to get hands to floor but other things I will have to keep going with! Just try to enjoy it. Think of it like couch to 5k or improving your park run time. Incremental gains are the sustainable ones. It's great for switching off a busy head too.
Ps once or twice a week to begin is enough. Your body needs time to adjust. And you're definitely not too old!!
Never too old! Even 10 or 15 minutes a day can help - in fact little and often is probably best to build up to poses you can't do. Lots of people can't touch the floor when they start, for example.
Some people will never be able to do certain poses, because of how their joints are configured - we are not all built exactly the same. People have different length arms and legs in proportion to the rest of their body compared with others. Other people can't do certain poses while recovering from an injury.
Most yoga poses have alternatives, so you can do adaptations or sometimes entirely different poses, to work on the same muscle groups. Also some styles of yoga will use blocks, bolsters and straps to help support things like hands which can't reach the floor - it's quite usual to reach down to a block rather than the floor, and it's better to do that than risk injury than going for something you aren't ready for. You don't have to buy things like blocks. Sofa cushion, books, solid box can all work.
There are lots of poses I struggle with. Forward folds, I have too much stomach to fold all the way. There are some poses I can do better than others. And sometimes I can do a beautiful balance, and then next week I can't - hormones also seem to have some effect. Some poses are about confidence and self-belief ' you can't do it because you think you can't.
You're working with you, not against everyone else in a class. They are not you, you are not them. Listen to your body - don't push beyond your capabilities. Feeling a pose is one thing, but it should only be effort - you shouldn't feel pain. If you do, you need to stop, pull it back.
Keep going - you will get there with practice, but it takes time, and we all expect to be brilliant at the outset...
A beginners class should be emphasising that everyone is different and giving options for less flexible people. Try yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. It's free and she is totally awesome and reassuring.
I used these when recovering from major surgery and it was a lifesaver for me.
And to add ... any yoga class that makes you feel a bit rubbish about yourself is the wrong class for you. Don't feel tied to this one. Shop around.
Thank you. I just feel so stiff and clumsy and unbendy. As if I'm not built to be able to do this - I think I expected a beginners class to be easier than it actually was, so it was demoralising!
I'll stick with it and keep trying - I'll be so happy if I see progress.
I've recently taken up yoga and I love it. The pp are right, there are some poses you'll find improvement with and others you'll probably never quite manage. That's ok. Yoga isn't just about the physical benefits it's mental too. I try and do 2 online classes a week but I've always concocted my own little 15-20 minute routines which I do daily and I always feel so much lighter and relaxed afterwards.
Also I must add I'm overweight and not the most flexible or fit person! You will get there keep at it
Adrienne won't expect your head to touch your knees ! 30 days of yoga series and you will see a difference
Please don't stick with a class that makes you feel demoralised. This is clearly not the right class for you. Even your first class should make you feel inspired and excited for future classes. Find a better class.
I do yoga classes on peloton and I'm also a qualified yoga teacher - I have tight hamstrings so cannot forward fold with legs straight and hands flat to the floor despite practicing for the best part of 10 years! The usual modification is to bend your knees or fold to a block, or both.
I don't generally do the beginners classes on peloton but the few I have done have offered modifications and emphasised that you just do what is right for your body - perhaps try a different instructor if the one you tried didn't feel right for you.
@hazelnutlatte I'll try a 20 minute class by a different instructor each evening, then - maybe I'll find one that I click with.
Will have a look at Adrienne too - thank you!
Sounds like a good plan - also look at the slow flow classes, they are not necessarily easier but the instructors usually spend a little extra time explaining the alignment and what modifications you can do.
Ross Rayburn usually goes into great detail about exactly how the poses should feel and how to modify (which tbh can get a bit annoying the 5th time you hear him explain something) but is great for helping you get a feel for the pose.
Aditi does a nice 'flow and let go' series which is good if you want a more gentle practice. I'd also recommend sorting the classes by 'easiest' as some intermediate classes are actually quite gentle and some beginners classes are harder than you would expect.
That's really helpful, thank you!
Adrienne does a few specific videos just for runners, her hips and hamstrings one is also one of my favourites, and hips and lower back. I started doing them in the same position as you, absolute beginner with the rigid, inflexible muscles of a runner. It's genuinely healed a long-term hamstring injury I had and has improved my running so much, so do stick with it and remind yourself it's not a competition- especially on tight calves and hamstrings you need to be careful not to overstretch but with time- and breath- they will come.
@RedPandaFluff have you tried the Peleton sessions with Aditi Shah (sp?). I started with her classes and I’ve improved so much. It did take a few months before I really started to notice the difference - definitely wasn’t overnight and as pps have said there are some poses I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do.
RedPandaFluff did you stick at the yoga?
I have been doing it for nearly ten years, but only this year decided to get more serious about it. It's made a huge difference already!
can't touch my forehead to my knee or place my palms on the floor with my legs straight.
I've been doing yoga 15 years and still can't do the former! The latter I can on a bendy day and/or having done some warming sun salutations. It doesn't matter and a class that makes you feel that it does isn't a good class.
In a standing forward bend, try putting blocks/yoga bricks/thick books either side of your feet to rest your hands on. You want not to feel that you're straining to reach the floor but for your arms and neck/shoulders to be able to soften.
Keep at it. It's great and it's good for you whatever your postures look like