I’m among a bit of a competitive family … and a bit might be putting it too mildly.
For example, my sister-in-law has a hard time at yoga class because she is always opening her eyes and peaking at the other students to make sure she is relaxing better than the rest.
While I am also competitive, I am most competitive with myself. I love running, biking and swimming because they offer me the opportunity to compete with my most recent race time or my fastest pace. So though I understand the benefits, I have struggled to find the right yoga fit for me.
Unfortunately, I had come to think of yoga as forced relaxation. But in the past year I have been lucky enough to find three different kinds of yoga that appeal to my sense of competition.
- I fully expected to hate hot yoga, considering it combines two of the things I enjoy least — forced relaxation and heat. But I liked it much more than expected. To be fair, this had more to do with the instructor, who was also a triathlete, than the heat or the type of yoga itself.
- I wasn’t sure that the second type was for me either until I finally worked up the nerve to try it. Yin yoga, which calls for holding poses for as long as fifteen minutes, seemed like an odd fit since I have difficulty sitting still even during a movie. Fortunately, there was an element of competition involved with yin yoga as well. Holding the poses through the pain was a challenge, and challenges I can do.
- But, by far, the yoga I enjoyed the most and found to be the best fit for my personality is vinyasa flow.
, Patch Columnist and yoga instructor, teaches vinyasa flow in College Park at the Greenbelt Community Church on Monday nights.
“Vinyasa flow is great for athletes,” Schock said, “It is a killer workout that connects breath with flow.”
For me, this type of yoga is a challenge because it calls for moving from one pose to another relatively quickly and then repeating the sequence several times. It is a workout in which I can work up a sweat.
“I really love teaching yoga,” Schock said, “but the best part is when someone comes up to me after a few classes and tells me how much stronger they feel because of the class.”
As an endurance athlete, I understand the importance of breath, mobility and flexibility, and I understand that these areas can all be improved by yoga.
For me, finding the right yoga fit was the key to making it a part of my regular fitness routine.