Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Yoga-ta-be-kidding. Barefoot at the Absolute Sancturary, Koh Samui

While at uni, I attended a circuit class in a studio also used for yoga classes. When we arrived, the yoga class attendees would all be asleep on the floor. Some workout that I thought. I’ve never done yoga properly, or had any real desire to. I thought it was the exercise choice of people who are too lazy to exercise.

This week my wife and I are on holiday at the Absolute Sanctuary (http://www.absolutesanctuary.com/), an amazing yoga and detox (aka alcohol free) resort in Koh Samui, Thailand. In the past 4 days I’ve done hot yoga twice, flow yoga, gentle yoga and gentle flow yoga. Though I’ve failed to really see the difference between all these types, I’ve found it all incredibly hard work. My last trip to the podiatrist informed me that I have a very limited range of motion in my big toes and ankles, that my quads were out of balance, and that my calves, hamstrings, quads and IT band were all too tight. I’ve often thought of these words as I’ve struggled in each posture, and have been made painfully aware on numerous occasions that I am the class dunce. The incredible sweaty, confused looking class dunce. Yet oddly I’m really enjoying it.

I can now see how beneficial yoga can be for my running, to help improve the range of motion in my ankles, knees and hips, meaning I should be able to run faster and more efficiently. It should also improve my flexibility, stability and core strength and therefore reduce the likelihood of future injury. Ryan Giggs credits yoga with being one of the reasons why he’s been able to prolong his career for so long. If it’s good enough for Giggsy, it’s good enough for me.

Today I needed a break from the yoga, I was desperate toget out of the resort and have a look around. I was told that if I did want to jog, then to go early, since the roads get super busy (as this pic shows). I headed off at 8am in the direction of Chaweng. I was great, I wasn’t keen on the wild dogs, but they seemed much more interested in lying in the shade licking their genitals than they fancied chasing a jogger down the street. Result! It was great seeing and smelling all of the street food being prepared, though why anyone would want a whole skewered chicken for breakfast is beyond me.

I stopped at a Seven 11 on the return leg for some water, and was presented with fridges full of freezing cold lager. For those reading this outside of Dubai you may think ‘so what?’, but after months of not being able to buy booze, what I felt must be the same experience those who like a smoke have on going into a café in Amsterdam. It was my little lager oasis.

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.

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