Yoga-ta Be Kiddin' Me!

Until this point of training with Valley Coach, I thought my hardest workout would be in the pool, trails or on the road cycling. Maybe even the weight room.

How wrong I was.
After a fairly decent swim test this morning (20:50 for 1,000 yards) at 8 in 53-degree Calabasas, I got a reprieve. Or so I thought. All I had to do was an hour of strength training or yoga. No running or trainer exercises? Noooo prob!
Several months ago, my co-worker Brian and his wife Jenny bought me a gift certificate for two weeks of unlimited yoga at Black Dog Yoga in Sherman Oaks. (BTW, in the spirit of my recent restaurant and movie reviews, two full water bottles for Black Dog. Spacious facility, warm, experienced staff, affordable classes and many of them.) I purposely saved the certificate for my holiday break, when I'd be most able to take advantage of truly "unlimited" classes. My first session was today, a "basic flow" class for all levels. Noobs included.
I've had a fair amount of yoga experience over the years, be it Hatha or Ashtonga. We had yoga class at my current job a few years ago, which I practiced for several months. I've also taken individual classes over the past couple years, so my practice ranks somewhere between "novice" and "novice-plus."
Today it ranked as "kick my ass." The session lasted 90 minutes but at points it felt like three days. My body is getting pretty darn hard from all the training, but where I'm gaining in strength and tone I'm losing in flexibility and suppleness. I needed the blocks more than I can remember in the past, and even a rolled blanket for some poses. And pigeon pose? I'll be feeling that one for a few days. Surprisingly, I felt weak.
Despite being annoyed at my "performance", I accepted it as the aspiring enlightened yoga practitioner I'm trying to become. I'm looking forward to more in the coming days (next class on Christmas!) and months.
Overall, returning to yoga was like meeting an old friend you haven't seen in a long time. Everything seems the same, except you feel a little stiffer, slower and more awkward than you'd like. There's an adjustment period. It's not quite like riding a bike, metaphorically speaking. But you're still damn glad to see that friend again. And Shavasana was about the only thing to calm my jumpy mind today. Five minutes of clarity.
Who would have thought that my toughest workout would be the one I figured would be the easiest? And perhaps the most rewarding?
336 days and counting.