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Friday, October 06, 2006

yoga with matt

i've always wanted to take a class with matt reyes. let me clarify that; i've taken many classes with him as the teacher, but never with him as a student. after all, given the grueling workout he puts all his hip-hop yoga students through, i've always wondered if he'd be able to do all those strenuous moves himself.

well, i finally got my chance to go mat-to-mat (pun somewhat intended) with him last night.

yes, i know that yoga is supposed to be a non-competitive sport, but sometimes i find that i can't help myself, especially if i'm standing beside a fellow marathoner. once that adrenaline gets going, all of a sudden everything becomes a challenge.

but i should start from the beginning.

about a week or two ago, i received an email from the lululemon store in santa monica about their new LULU running group. it was going to be headed by lulu ambassador matthew reyes and assisted by bridget tremblay, both accomplished marathoners:

We will meet EVERY THURSDAY EVENING beginning October 5th.

6:00pm: MEET at lululemon Santa Monica
6:15-7:00: LULU RUN, 2 pace groups available
7:00-7:15: YOGA STRETCH at lululemon Santa Monica

Participation in the running group is free and all are welcome.

then after all that running, if we still had any energy left, we were welcome to take a yoga class at yogahop, just a short drive away (regular class rates apply; not everything in life is free, unfortunately).

not wanting to miss out on either the running nor the yoga, i showed up shortly before 6:00 with running and yoga gear in tow. there were two pace groups; one speeding off at an 8-minute pace and another one doing a more leisurely 10-minute pace. since i knew that i had an hour of fairly physical yoga at yogahop after the run, i specifically chose to stick with the slower group, hoping that it would be a nice, social run that would essentially be my pre-yoga warmup.

unfortunately, that was not to be.

most of those who showed up seemed intimidated by the designation "faster group" and chose to run with the slower group. problem was, many of them were NOT slow runners (since when do 20-something men run slowly?). so instead of my doing an easy jog along the beach boardwalk, i found myself pushing to keep up with the frontrunners. after a couple of miles, i let them go. it didn't matter if i was missing out on the chance to chat with the group; i was running too fast to talk anyway. i slowed down my pace and continued to run the course, watching the youngsters pass me as they sped back to the store. by the time i rejoined them at the end, i realized that my planned warmup had turned into a full-on speed workout. oh well. i'll know better next time.

once everyone else got back, we did a quick post-run yoga stretch, then put our names in the hat for some raffle prizes: lulu clothing and a yogahop class. and no, i didn't win anything. again!

at that point, with no other takers, matt and i headed off to yogahop to catch greville henwood's level 2/3 class at 7:45pm.

there were a total of 4 students in our class that evening: matt and myself plus a father-daughter duo. if they had only known the craziness they were going to be witness to...

for the most part, i kept trying to see how perfectly i could do each pose. and matt kept trying to see how imperfectly he could do the same poses (of course, only when my head was turned in his direction). greville watched matt quizzically at first, until he realized that both matt and i were laughing at his display of how not to do a pose.

as expected, matt had no problem keeping up. i, on the other hand, was struggling to find the energy to get through the class. he did five push-ups for every vinyasa, as instructed. i gave up after a couple of sets. he gracefully transitioned in and out of all the balance poses; i barely hung on while standing in warrior 3 and half moon. he kept cranking out the sit-ups while i kept taking breaks due to my burning abs. if i were truly competitive, i probably would have been totally frustrated at that point. instead, i used matt as a benchmark, knowing that if he could do it, i would eventually be able to, too. if i keep working at it, that is.

likewise, if i keep working on my running, i may actually be able to keep up with those youngsters... or maybe even pass them as i move on to the faster pace group!