Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fire & Ice

February's training "plan" has gone to Hell in a handbasket and I blame one thing. Its not the cold or winter its Hot Yoga. My wife got me to go check a class out with her after cross season. It was pretty key in helping me recover from my mcl sprain. Seriously. After 2 classes I could actually walk again. The first class was pretty hilarious. I gimp in with Pam and she sets me up with my mat and blocks etc. We go through a few asanas and then settle into a pose called Thunderbolt or Vajrasana its basically a chair or squat with your hands up in the air. The teacher of course asks us to really sit into the pose like a squat. My leg is totally f'd from my crash and can barely hold me up so I am just sort of hanging out there. Next thing I know she has her hands on my hips and is trying to scoot me down. The only place I can "go" is back so I sort of lean back into her and whisper into her ear that I have a knee injury.

It is a total non-event but after class my wife looks at me and is like what the f? it looked like you were going to do some martial arts move on the yoga teacher. Haha so funny. Welcome to yoga biker boy. But even after that totally lame entry into yoga I was hooked. Now the yoga we are doing is not your gentle stretching yoga. It is a Power Flow yoga in a heated room or Hot Yoga. Baron Baptiste popularized this style and a lot of the teachers hail from his school and tutelage. The studio we go to is in Needham and Wellesley and called Hyp Studio. It has totally ruined me for cycling. Well ruined is perhaps dramatic but close. From age 12-22 I was obsessed with Martial Arts. Way before it was cool and popularized by MMA I was going into south station to learn Northern Longfist Kung Fu from a chinese master. Hot Yoga is ten times harder than that. And Kung Fu was hard! The only difference between Kung Fu and Hot Yoga is I don't have matching black eyes and cracked ribs every week!
But back to the Yoga. I am somewhat joking of course that it has ruined me for riding. Really in two short months it has healed me from a lot of my old cross injuries. I swear I have been dealing with a sports hernia for over a year from a crash I took in the forest of Lowellenberg in 2008. I got zero traction from my doctor when I described the pain and tearing feeling. It really sucks to be a low-maintenance fairly healthy patient in our health care system. I could have cancer and it would be years before my Dr would even order the tests. But all those weird nagging injuries are almost healed. Its crazy.

A few disclaimers about hot yoga. You will suck. I really suck. I have no balance. I have no strength. You think you are strong and then the whole class is doing some crazy ninja move and you have to take child's pose on the floor. Not pretty. It is HOT. Its called Hot Yoga afterall. But it can be really hot. You'll feel dizzy. You might want to puke. But that is part of the character building part of it and why for me it is a perfect balance to cycling. Cycling and racing is all about suffering and character. How we suffer is a testament to our character right? Hyp Studio for me right now is a bit of a Church or Shrine or Dojo or what ever you want to call it. Its way more than a physical practice which is what is drawing me deeper and deeper into it. What they have at Hyp Studio is a gift. You just don't get this type of thing in the 'burbs. They have incredible master teachers, the studio is designed like a spa, and the classes themselves while hard are very welcoming and open.

The challenge for me will be how to marry the two. I don't even know if it can be done in the middle of "real" riding season. It is perfect for winter. You have the fire (yoga) with the ice (riding outside in the cold!) they are such a beautiful balance right now. Doing yoga is also helping me realize just how bad biking is for you. My god we eat crap, drink crap and then ride for hours to make it all "right" I have got to stop eating like a 12 year old fat kid. Seriously. We wonder why we gain so much weight every winter. Our bodies, especially masters, just shouldn't have to process all this sugar and carbs.

If you live near Needham or Wellesley I highly recommend you checking out Hyp Studio for one of their classes. It really is a unique opportunity and a unique place. Ok off to get a bit of a ride in before this next storm hits us. Hopefully it won't be anything like what they are dealing with down in the MAC. Oh one last bit, the one thing Hot Yoga practitioners seem to share with bikers? Tattoos. There is a big guy who I see pretty often in class no lie he has a full back tattoo of the Punisher! Crazy. Most people seem to have the prerequisite dragon across their shoulder blades or perhaps a henna style wrapping around an ankle here an ankle there. But the Punisher? Damn that just rocks my world every time I see it!

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