Following the fantastic Bruce Springsteen concert last night (which included plenty of walking and an impromptu obstacle course), Andrew and I took ourselves off to Alexandra Palace this morning for the first ever Gloanna Yoga Run. We were fortunate enough to win a free entry thanks to Jog Blog and the organisers, along with fellow Juneathoner and all-round lovely person, Moorhenscampers.
The idea surrounding the event was a good one; a relaxed 5k run around the park followed by a 45 minute yoga session and then brunch. Everyone was friendly and the event was well organised. We kicked off with a group stretch warm-up. I’ll be honest here, I’m not very good at group exercise activities, so I snuck off to the toilet (the portaloos had flowers and perfumed soap!) and then lingered at the back out of sight. Then it was time to begin the 5k route through the grounds of Ally Pally.
I’m recovering from injury and not really feeling the running love this week, so it was lovely that both Andrew and Mercy chose to stick with me and take it at my pace; I know they both could have done it much faster! We ambled round slowly, chatting and enjoying the lovely scenery, whilst commenting on the steepness of some of the climbs. The views were stunning though. The marshals were lovely and friendly; there was absolutely no emphasis on racing so there were no times and no KM markers which made the slow pace seem like it didn’t matter at all. However, I can live without enforced high-5s. I’m obviously a grumpy and cynical person, but I hate enforced happiness. I prefer just to be happy without faking it. And I was happy taking in the lovely views and talking to good people.
Run over, it was time for the 45 minute yoga session and this is where it went a bit wrong for me. Watching some of the others, I took to Facebook with a sense of dread. Stephen rightfully pointed out just to embrace it and after seriously considering not doing it at all, I decided that 1) he was right and 2) it was part of the experience. I knew I was going to run into problems though as I have short tendons and things like touching toes etc are just impossible for me. I physically am completely unable to do it and the pain it causes isn’t pain in a “I am being stretched, but it’s good for me” type way, more a “oh shit, this is agony, I am crunching, I am going to vomit and now I am in tears” type pain. I explained this to the two yoga instructors and to be fair, they were very understanding.
I’ve only done yoga a couple of times before and to be honest, I’ve found it a bit of a stressful experience which is exactly the opposite of what yoga is supposed to achieve. I can see why people like it, I can see why it is so beneficial, but this “clearing your mind and cleanse the energy” stuff isn’t for me. I’m also not very flexible, not very coordinated and I usually end up working myself up over something that is supposed to be relaxing.
The instructors are clearly very, very good at yoga and they were really nice people. However, I do really think that Gloanna would have been wise to find out if people were experienced or not. I’m not and although quite a few people had done some yoga before, a lot of people were clearly suffering. This is what I did during the session:
- Ended up right when everyone else was left
- Tried to do something and fell over
- Tried to do something and was physically unable to
- Watched everyone else thinking “why am I so unbendy and rubbish, whhhhhhhhhhhhhy?”
- Balanced on one leg. That was about the only thing I was quite good at.
It sounds like I didn’t really try, but this wasn’t the case at all. When we were finished, my entire body felt like jelly and I’m sorry to say I didn’t enjoy it at all. The lovely instructors were cheerful and encouraging, but it was confirmed after by Mercy who does yoga often, that it was an advanced class and certainly not a beginners level. Truthfully, I really don’t feel I got any benefit out of it, especially as I was so scared of hurting myself.
Gloanna seriously need to consider offering two levels of yoga next time, one for beginners and one for the more advanced. I feel that a lot of the moves today could have caused serious injury to a beginner, such as handstands, headstands, etc. Had that been my first ever experience of yoga, it would have put me off for life based on the difficulty. It wasn’t just challenging, it was way too advanced.
It was pointed out that I can do a bridge, but I am a freak of nature who can apparently only bend backwards.
The brunch provided afterwards was fantastic, fruit, endamme beans, sushi and prosecco and I can honestly say that the sushi was some of the nicest I’ve ever had. Andrew also had some delicious home made Millionaires Shortbread in the car, made by his lovely wife which was just the ticket when my legs were feeling so wobbly.
Did I enjoy it? Mostly. Would I do it again? Most likely. Do I recommend it? Yes, but I do think that the yoga needs to be organised into difficulty levels.
All in all though, a great day!