Interestingly, there have been some surprises along the way over the past year of yoga abandonment. Those rare times he's practiced with us during friend yoga his added strength from weightlifting doesn't seem to help him. His downward dogs, warriors and especially his balance postures remain unchanged- wobbly and filled with his grumblings of how difficult it is.
(this is his source of inspiration and joy three mornings a week. He wanted me to point out that he was doing "rows" with the weights at the last platform near "ENTHUSIASM" and proceeded to demonstrate what that was with a broomstick in an excited and bright eyed face...)
During these yoga classes, while he's sweating and swearing profusely, I'm surprised at how I'm breezing through barely breaking a sweat. We've spent some time chatting about why this might be and what yoga has given him with the result of a quick interview! (He refused to be recorded, so I've tried to make this sound as much like our conversation as possible).
1. Why did you choose weightlifting over yoga?
Actually, weightlifting was kinda an accident. I started running that summer and I joined the gym so I could keep running in the winter cuz it gets cold and I'm a wuss. But then I discovered that running on the treadmill was boring, figured I had a gym membership so I should just switch to lifting weights.
(But, what is it giving you that yoga isn't?)
Structure. Lifting weights gives me more structure than yoga. I really like that it provides a clear progression, you know exactly where you are, you can quantify in measurable amounts how much you've improved since last time.
(Is it more like video gaming? Like you're building up measurable goals and "points"?)
Exactly, with weightlifting I increase my vital stats, I'm increasing strength and charisma at the same time, I'm going to school so I have intelligence... kinda missing dexterity, already have wisdom... I have a pretty sweet D&D character going on actually.
(Dungeons and Dragons???)
Those are the core stats in all role playing games! Weightlifting is the closest thing levelling up in real life.
Every week I can set personal achievable goals and every week I can do better than before. How's that for motivation? My first week I started out with 85lbs, 5 sets of 5. Six weeks later- tomorrow- I'm lifting 170lbs 5x5- going up in five pound increments.
2. How has yoga helped your gym practice?
I know one way that yoga has definitely helped my gym practice- balance and core strength, I guess they're tied together.
(Remember you told me about breathing?)
Oh and definitely breathing! It's not that I'm necessarily using yogic breathing, it's just that I'm aware of my breathing. In fact, I think yoga has made me more aware of my entire body.
I listen to my body, I don't push myself too hard. I'm very aware of any little twinges or anything.
I find yoga harder because of the endurance aspect. Everything I do I'm not holding anything long, because I might burst (I type that, read it out loud and he says:) NO, it's like bursts of energy! It's kinda like the opposite of yoga as far as that goes.
Well, I mean, you have a couple hundred pounds on your back and you go (demonstrates a weird awkward looking squat-chair pose combo while he's talking) you go down and then you go back up. But with yoga you go halfway down and then you just stay there. And you're like wow- my legs are burning, I wish I could stand up. But you can't because your wife is beside you and she's like- no problem.
3. So when are going to start practicing yoga again with me? (happy grin directed to him)
Well. (he laughs). During the school year I'm fairly busy while you're doing yoga (I frown while I type), but once we start doing yoga on the weekends again, like Yoga in the Park, yeah I'll definitely do yoga then. (Happy smile again, all is well).
Thank you Andrew!
Thoughts on yoga vs weightlifting?
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