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You Seek Yoga


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TLDR - Friends introduced me to yoga a few years ago, just a few basic stretches to help with old sprains and strains and helping stay limber with hockey. Since then I've started going to a style of class on a somewhat regular basis. Once or twice a week is about perfect for me. I do an intro class for 90 minutes and then grab my hockey gear and head to the rink for another 90 minutes. I have to say it has been a relief. I've had a couple of bad collisions where if I hadn't been as relaxed and loose, I'd have been much worse.


It is getting harder to squeeze in classes. Somehow my hockey schedule has doubled during the summer, and home improvement projects are backlogged already. 


The one thing I love about yoga is making it my time. Its a time period where I can just focus on what my body says I need to do: hold that stretch longer; stretch a little further or learned a new pose / stretch / way not to hurt myself. 



The long story:

Over the years, I've been told I have the flexibility and range of motion of a person twice my age. Getting old and injuries add up. Its amazing how complicated the human body is. Muscles compensate for other muscles that are strained and injured, causing an imbalance in the body. And a lot of deterioration is slow and subtle. It can be so gradual that you didn't realize how you lost it. Having a desk job causes ligaments and tendons to become less flexible and shorten, which then causes tightness in those connecting muscles. 


Mind you, I didn't have the mindset yoga was useless or not beneficial, quite the opposite. Very early on I heard an interview with Ryan Miller, NHL goalie, when he was with the Sabres, that he started doing yoga to keep his body in balance.


When friends first suggested yoga, it was after complaints about the aches and stiffness after playing hockey. A few years later an instructor commented about the lack of range of motion in my hip flexors. And a year later an injury in my neck and the chiropractor comments about the lack of range of motion in my neck. All of the comments followed by a "you have the range of motion of an 80 year old". 


Enough was enough, and after visiting my yoga practicing friends, off to my first couple of classes with them. And I had a great time. The instructors made adjustments to me as I went through various poses. It was an intense stretching workout. Even though I wasn't moving a lot, it is a lot of isometric work and is very exhausting.


Early last year I had a hockey friend express interest but was concerned if the others on the team found out, they'd make fun of him. I knew some of our other teammates do some yoga, so I told him about them, and then pointed out the number of guys who really need it more than us. So it didn't take long to find a studio we were comfortable with and the instructors were wonderful people. And they appreciate that we value yoga, because we can incorporate it into our hockey life.

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