I never stretch…like never…or at least didn’t, until I started going to yoga a few years ago. A good friend of mine, and local triathlete Chuck Hooker, is an avid ‘yoga guy’…and for years literally, kept trying to get me to come out for his favorite class, ‘men’s only’ yoga with Tom Pace at Serenity Now Yoga Studio.
I always though it was a little weird every time that Chuck brought it up…I’d say
“gosh Chuck, ‘men’s only yoga’…isn’t that be sort of missing the point of going to a yoga class in the first place”
…never mind that I’ve been a stocky, stiff, largely muscle-bound guy all my life, that’s _never_ done any stretching…to some large degree because I don’t like it, and to another, didn’t want to injure myself…and with a virtually injury-free training record (except for the recent knee thing which is more of an impact issue over time), it’s like ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’.
So one day I did go…I’d don’t even remember why…but I did…and I was shocked to find out that I _really_ liked it. Tom was a very laid back guy…the other ‘guys’ in the class were ‘normal’ guys, and I found…and have at yoga classes since…that folks are really focused on what’s really happening on their mat, not on what’s going on around them…and all shapes and sizes
…okay, okay, ‘sometimes’ in a ‘mixed’ class, one can’t help but get an extra stretch sometimes to check out the form of a particularly ‘flexible’ classmate…all in all, well worth the time
I don’t lift weights for strength training…in some seasons I have, but I find that I can build muscle/bulk-up pretty fast and really don’t need or want the extra weight…and with the knee thing, doing a lot of leg work that stresses the joint is not particularly a good idea.
I’ve found yoga to be a great strength option. I’m not into it for the gentle, meditative style, but for the Vinyasa Flow or Power style. It can deliver a kick-your-butt workout, excellent for the upper body…and oh, yes…I do get stretched out, and it’s helped me develop more shoulder flexibility in particular that’s helped with the swimming.
I’ve tried Bikram Yoga, which is conducted in a room at 105F….many people swear by hot yoga…but other than the appeal of being in a room with 30 scantily clad, ‘glowing’ women…for me personally, the feeling of sweat pouring off my body like rain off a roof in a thunderstorm, is not really my idea of a good time.