Monday, August 18, 2014

Korean Yoga Class

It's pretty easy to find yoga classes in English, aimed at foreigners in Daegu. However, there's a gym just a block away that I joined last year which has yoga every night at 7, and is super convenient for me. So, with rain all day and the Ultimate Frisbee League season I signed up for approaching quickly, and in the wake of all the burritos I'm carrying around in my butt cheeks, belly and thighs after three weeks in Texas, I decided to renew my gym membership and let the tiny bodybuilders in tiny lumo shirts talk me into going to yoga as well.

I was a member of the gym last year until I ran into my elderly landlady in the shower and was too mortified to go back (and someone accidentally 'stole' my shampoo, which was identical to hers) so I know how things generally work. This time I got a locker, rather than store my shampoos etc with the plebs. But I'd never joined yoga or been there while they were having a class so I didn't really know what to expect. Maybe I expected it to be like the yoga videos I watch and try to copy on youtube, like the wonderful series by Adriene Mishler. You know, some sun salutations, a couple of twists, maybe a bunch of plank variations... the usual stuff.

My gym has uniforms that you're expected to wear while working out, but yoga in shorts doesn't appeal to me that much. So I wore my usual semi-stretchy sweatpants and a big t-shirt and headed off to the gym. It's my first time; I get a 'gimme' to check out what everyone else does and copy them next time. Turns out they just wear yoga pants under the uniform. *shrug*

I was the first person there (little Miss Over-eager) so the bodybuilder Dudes introduced me to the most beautiful woman I've ever seen; she was the instructor. And she didn't speak a word of English beyond "one, two, three", "inhale/exhale" and "changee". But that's all you really need...Right? I figured I could watch her and she'd correct me if I was totally off. Today, I taught her "hips", "core" and "pelvis". Nevertheless, we managed to communicate, and I managed to follow the class. Well, I could follow what I was supposed to be doing.

Doing it, on the other hand, was another question.

HOLY COW, Yoga lady! There was not a single sun salutation or plank, but I got one hell of a workout instead. Of course, I'm surrounded by lithe, limber little Korean fairy-elves... and one very elastic ajumma. And there I am, bigger than three of the Tinkerbells put together, awkward and stiff and jetlagged and with no muscles in my stomach whatsoever. At one point I figured out she was trying to tell me to lift my legs 90 degrees off the ground BEHIND me using only my hamstrings... I grunted "Opseoyeo" (I ain't got none!) and the class giggled. She managed to get the forms across to me by pushing and pulling my bits and helping me, and I think I'll be able to do it on my own next time, perhaps. I felt a bit babied but that's ok. She is a good teacher.

Anyway, yoga is not a competition. It's about doing what you can and getting a little better each time. I'm good at some things and not at others, and I'll get better. And I wasn't the first person to fall over. I may not be able to do the splits but I can hold an ajumma squat on my tippy-toes with my hands stretched above my head for hours, thank you very much.

So I was ungainly, wheezing, red-faced and constantly going in the wrong direction. Who cares? I had fun, I feel good, and I think this is definitely something I can work into the daily routine I haven't started yet.

Next adventure: working with a tiny bodybuilder personal trainer