Mark Gives Yoga Another Try

This article is part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three members of the WebMD team as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their travels here.

By Mark Spoor

If you’ve been following me on my fitness journey, you know all about my flexibility issues. It is a battle that I have been fighting for years. One of the reasons I chose to do this blogging series in the first place is because it would really force me to step up my flexibility efforts.

To that end, I made sure to add short stretching classes to my workouts on my Peloton app, both at the start and at the end. I also tried very hard to get up from my desk every now and then during the work day. This is something I have always tried to do, but since I started this blog I now do it without catching food on the way back to my office. #Progress

Although I saw gains – like being almost able to touch my toes without bending my knees – I felt I had to do more. So I ventured into yoga.

This is actually the second time that I have tried yoga. A gymnasium I belonged to offered an introductory class on a Saturday morning. As I walked into this experience – which dates back almost 10 years – I thought it would be an enjoyable and relaxing hour. After all, everyone I knew at the time who did yoga seemed pretty relaxed, and the little I did know about yoga was that it was all about stretching and gentle movement from pose to pose. other.

Honestly, I thought this would be a nice break from the boot camp training that I had been doing for a few months before class.

Pause, eh? Not so much there, Sparky.

I can honestly tell you that I shed more sweat during that hour than during months of other workouts. In fact, it was while I was in this class that I first learned that I had a flexibility problem. In a cowardly move that I still regret, I returned to the relative safety of deadlifts, box jumps, and kettlebell swings. This, of course, did absolutely nothing for my flexibility.

So this time around, I came to yoga with a lot more respect – and a fair amount of caution.

Like a real newb, as I browsed the yoga section of the app, I searched for a class name that seemed to not break me. I landed on “Sun Salutation A.” In fact, it was a very good starting point. The movements were relatively smooth, but they were not easy. There were plank type movements. There was some stretching. There were dogs on the decline. There were noises.


Yes, there were some pretty loud crackles and noises coming from me as I was taking the class. I actually started to look a bit like the Rice Krispies when you first pour milk on them. While this seemed like a great fit from a chiropractor, all the noise worried me a bit. So I contacted my friend Beth.

Beth is a member of our team here at WebMD and she also teaches yoga. If anything happened, she would let me know. Beth instantly put me at ease – and made me laugh.

“We can find all kinds of crazy body reactions in yoga,” she replied. “Good game!”

By the way, “Crazy Body Responses” should be the name of a garage band. Your move, America!

Anyway, the next day I tried a little more yoga, and a little more the next day. Believe me, I’m a long way from being comfortable with this, and I’m sure I look a lot like a fish coming out of Laura’s water bottle while I do (a nod to his recent article on hydration). But I know he’s doing what I need for me. And since I can do it on my own, it doesn’t matter what I look like. Plus, it gives me something else to do on training days, so go for it.

Oh, one more thing. Kudos to my 2021 health blogger colleague Bill, who gave us some insight (and inspiration) this week to overcome the comparison hurdle – you get it, buddy!

Mark Spoor is the health editor at WebMD. He has spent over 2 decades in sports media, working with groups like the NCAA, NASCAR and the PGA TOUR. Most weekends you can find him and his wife, Chris, cheering on their daughter’s softball team.

Although Mark has spent a lot of time with athletes, he isn’t, so fitness has always been a challenge. He hopes this effort will help him get one step closer to winning this battle.

You can follow Mark on Twitter @markspoor.

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