Guest Post By Al Kavaldo, Author of Stretching Your Boundaries
The first time I ever took a yoga class I was 24 years old. I had been working as a personal trainer at a commercial gym for a little while and decided it would be good for me to get firsthand experience at some of the classes we offered.
Like many young guys, I arrogantly went to that first class with the expectation that it would be very easy and very boring. I was wrong on both counts! The class challenged me in new and exciting ways, leaving me humbled, yet thirsty for more. I couldn’t believe I was so tight. So many of my weaknesses were exposed that day.
For many of us in the strength training world, the word “yoga” conjures up images of malnourished-looking folks contorting themselves into esoteric positions, or a bunch of poseurs thinking they’re spiritual because they burned some incense and followed some stretches along with a DVD.
While those stereotypes are not totally without merit, they make it easy to write of flexibility training as a waste of time, which can be a big mistake. Don’t be so quick to dismiss the value of stretching or you’ll miss out on a great deal of physical wisdom.
After my initially humbling experience, I kept going back to yoga week after week – eventually bringing some of the things I was learning from yoga class into my workouts. I was enjoying the new challenges and it was a nice change of pace from my usual routine, which at the time included a lot of weight training along with some basic bodyweight exercises like pull-ups and dips. (Eventually, I would leave the weights behind altogether, but that’s a different story.)
After some time, I started trying out different yoga classes, different styles and different teachers. Though many of the basic poses (“asanas” as yogis call them) transcend styles, I soon found out there is a lot of variety within the world of yoga. I also came to find that many of the postures and stretches had direct carryover into my strength training.
Over the years, I’ve taken hundreds of yoga classes and learned from dozens of different teachers. The best teacher of all, however, has been my own body. I’m still learning new lessons every day.
Watch the video below for five quick flexibility tests you can try right now to assess what areas you need to work on:
Click HERE to check out Al’s brand new book, Stretching Your Boundaries.