Anna Railton continues her review of Yoga for Rowers

So it’s been a week of this yoga experiment and I’ve got to admit that I’m actually quite impressed with it all. The poses that I struggled to even get into are slowly getting better and the remainders that required less contortion I’m holding for longer and are noticeably more “solid”, i.e. instances of  falling flat on my face are becoming, mercifully, less frequent.

One of the things I really struggled with in the first few sessions was the whole “clearing your mind” thing. It seemed that every few seconds my brain would flit off in random directions and I’d start thinking about

  • doing laundry
  • buying food (standard)
  • cleaning my bike
  • wondering why I keep my bike cleaning stuff next to my pile of fruit
  • the need to hoover the carpet
  • the need to remove the really quite obvious chain oil stain from said carpet before the college housekeeping department notices and I get fined

You get the idea. Listening to Radio 4 wasn’t much better either, as good as the Today program is.  However **handy tip** I coined on to counting breaths and seeing how deep and slow I could do that.  This was weirdly calming, increased my focus quite a lot and made me more in control of my breathing.  As a result, some of the previously painful poses are now actually relaxing.

I’m currently in between rowing seasons and am a small break from rowing (I’ve been BANNED from rowing. Or erging. It’s very upsetting).  This, and being out of term time, has meant I’ve had a bit of time to try this yoga thing properly, so I’m trying to do it once or twice a day.  The circuit suggested in the book takes 20-30mins depending on how stiff I am or how much I need to check what I’m doing.

I suppose you want a hamstring check:

Hamstrings status on 26 August

I think that counts as success!  [to compare last week’s hamstrings see the Yoga for Rowers review]. I’ve given up drawing lines on the photo – sorry.  It wasn’t very scientific anyway as it was just me trying to draw a yellow line on a photo in Paint then measuring the angle with a protractor (seriously!) on the screen.  There’s a “sit and reach” thing in the gym I go to – might use that weekly for something a bit more quantifiable.

I’ve also noticed that I’m inadvertently showcasing my bike collection to you (there are only so many places you can fit two bikes in your room).  That chrome, shiny thing behind me is my Bianchi known as The Bianchi.  Second in importance and engineering beautiful-ness only to The Empacher.  Here I feel duty bound to say that if you like having money, you should probably not get into cycling.

Equipment requirements for rowing: Boat (can be borrowed), blades (ditto), lycra (buy your own! Eww!), rigger jigger (most likely stolen).

Equipment requirements for cycling: Bike (at least one, though you’ll eventually end up with a “best” road bike, a winter bike, a time trial bike, a fixed gear and a “round town” bike. And another that was a “complete 100% bargain” on Wiggle just for the hell of it), pedals, cleats, shoes, shoe covers because otherwise you’ll lose your toes in winter, helmet, bib shorts, jersey, summer gloves, winter gloves, waterproof gloves, speedometer, lights, new tyres every c.3000 miles or when you cycle over broken glass and shred yours (:-s), bottle cages **BREATHES** bike pumps (floor and a little hand one for emergencies), spare inner tubes, tyre levers, various lubricants, spanners, allan keys, a chain whip (if you’ve gone down the fixie route), different sprockets because you can’t decide what gearing you like (ditto fixed gear), mudguards for winter, turbo trainer for when it’s snowing ANNNNNNNNND you get the idea.

You know what’s the worst bit?  I bought that bike because I didn’t want to keep paying for the Cambridge-Ely train to get to rowing. “It’ll pay for itself” I reasoned.  Ha. Ha. Ha. However, I suppose it’s better to have something nice and shiny to show for your money instead of a sizeable stack of train tickets and a bank statement with endless £5.50 debits to “National Express East Anglia”. (£5.50. To go 15 miles up the road. At 5:55am. *Shakes head in disgust*).

Oh dear. I’ve got distracted and have written half a page about cycling.  On a rowing/yoga blog.  Hmmm. GET BACK ON TRACK RAILTON.

Ooo! Ooo! I was good and got a book on yoga out of the library, mainly to see if it could teach me how to do awesome party-trick poses (it can!).  I found this, which I thought was quite amusing:

Yoga relaxation pose

This is the *second* double page spread explaining how to do the “Savasana” or corpse pose, which is pretty much just lying on the floor and relaxing everything.  Just like sleeping. Riiiiight.

  • Days till I can go rowing: 9
  • Days till October trials: 56
  • Can put legs behind head? No

Interesting Astrophysical fact of the week: A photon created at the centre of the sun takes 170000 years to reach the surface (then 8 mins to reach earth). That. Is. Awesome.

Lesson of the week: Never underestimate an old guy on a bike. Slack off for a second and they’ll be a speck in the distance.

Read part 3 of Anna’s continuing saga.

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