Vikings and Temple Dancers

A good week finds me at the Y two mornings for yoga and two for pilates.

I have four different instructors affectionately nicknamed to protect their identities: the Boomer, the Ballerina, the Brit, and Grace whom you may remember from Namaste.

buffalo as seen on Manchester

The Boomer is my intelligent, sandwich generation yoga instructor. In true Boomer fashion, she delivers a hefty dose of unsolicited, often humorous, expert advice every week.

Tells us how we should put our handbags in our grocery carts when shopping to preserve our shoulders. How we must strengthen our quads so we don’t end up in nursing homes, unable to take care of our own bathroom duties.

It’s a fun class. Really.

One morning, she said, “There are two kinds of people in the world: Vikings and temple dancers.”

We giggled. “Vikings are the people we hear above us in the weight room grunting and dropping dumbbells on the floor,” she said. “They like the taste of adrenaline. They want to lift, sweat, and pump iron.”

“Then there are those of us who are temple dancers,” she said. “We like to bend, stretch, and feel the gentle flood of endorphins.”

“It would be good for the Vikings to dance and the temple dancers to lift weights,” she said. “But we have our preferences. We start with our strengths.”

what a feeling as seen at Sears

My Y-appointed trainer wants me to go to the Body Blitz class. Add the Muscle Pump hour. Do something called CORE in all caps.

Says it will help me “burn” faster. Speed up my metabolism. Thinks yoga is all cardio and no resistance. I’m avoiding her for the time being.

I pine for chiseled arms like Linda Hamilton’s in Terminator, so I may add weights. Vanity, oh vanity. But my metabolism is fast enough already.

And there’s a lot of resistance in yoga and pilates. It’s nuanced. You push against your own body rather than a free weight or machine.

It’s like a dance with yourself. A temple dance of bending, stretching, and wonderful, glorious endorphins.

You did it: You changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about You.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough. Psalm 30:11-12 The Message

Dancing with Myself by Nouvelle Vague. If you’re used to the Billy Idol version of this song, you’re in for a treat with Nouvelle Vague’s cover. Fantastique!

Disclaimer: In case it isn’t blatantly obvious to you, I’m not an authority in health or fitness. I write of my own experiences and impressions. Nothing here should be construed as health, fitness, or medical advice.

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7 Comments

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7 Responses to Vikings and Temple Dancers

  1. Actually, both yoga and pilates are decent amount of body-weight resistance and isometric/isokinetic training… It’s just not the usual fixed-weight, isotonic exercise (i.e. lifting barbells) that most people assume to be resistance training.
    As a not-quite-expert in fitness matters (I have an Associate’s in coaching, but I emphasized in fencing), I would say do slow lifts with small weights (1-3 pounds), where you actively slow yourself down as you lift. Stand with your legs shoulder-width, your arms relaxed by your side with a barbell, bottle of water or wrist weight in/on each. Your palms facing backwards, slowly lift your elbow so both your upper arm and body and upper arm and lower arm angles are perpendicular. Push back down, again, forcingly being slow (using all muscles in your arms). Do them one each side or both sides together, repeats of 10, call it 3 series until it becomes too easy. Other than this, from the same starting position, cross your arms over in front of your body, alternating which arm is above the other – keep it to the self-slowing method.
    Give it about 6 weeks, 3 times a week, and you’ll have those arms. :D

  2. rebecca gill

    A regular exercise routine is one of the things I am most looking forward to when the kids go to school next year!

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