Self-experiment at men’s yoga in Stuhr

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Of: Marcel Prigge

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With bent legs, students roll on their backs to relax between exercises. © Jantje Ehlers

The district newspaper’s reporter Marcel Prigge participated in a men’s yoga course at VHS Stuhr. Under the guidance of yoga teacher Antje Weseloh, he reinvented his body.

Stuhr – Working at the newspaper can sometimes be exhausting. You travel a lot, are often pressed for time and like to drink a coffee too much. At least that’s how I feel. So much the better when a colleague recently asked me if I would be willing to even try a yoga class for men. “Please bring: comfortable clothes, a pillow, a pillow, a blanket and a bottle of water”, reads the course description of VHS Diepholz. A blanket and a pillow? Of course I’m in!

I’m in a classroom at VHS Stuhr with eight other men of all ages. “Everyone is picked up where they are,” yoga teacher Antje Weseloh told me. ‘No one is left alone. It’s not about performance or being particularly agile. ”

It is a prejudice shared by many that prevents men from enrolling in regular courses. “Men’s interest in yoga has been there for a long time,” Weseloh says. Many just would not dare, for 90 percent of most courses are women. However, a general course is well attended.

It’s not about performance or being particularly agile.

Music is played from a Bluetooth box in the center of the room. These are mantras, Weseloh explains, while I hear chants and calm melodies that I can not classify and have never heard before. We all sit cross-legged, take a few deep breaths and press our hands together in front of our own chest. “Anyone who wants to can close their eyes at any time,” we are told. It helps in relaxation. In the beginning, it’s about getting there.

Marcel Prigge does an abdominal exercise
More strenuous than it looks: Yoga for the abdominal muscles. © Jantje Ehlers

We rotate our hips while sitting to loosen the pelvis, get up and stretch our arms in the air to raise ourselves and release the shoulder muscles, and crawl on all fours to stretch the spine. Occasionally, breaking bones interrupt the music.

It feels good to move around on the mat with the others, and I begin to understand what Weseloh meant when she said that yoga is about feeling the body. I did not understand the words: “Today we want to strengthen our navel, for a strong navel means courage and confidence”. But that should change.

The yoga set contains ten exercises

Then begins the yoga set, which consists of ten exercises. A position is performed for two to three minutes. Then there is the same time again for relaxation, to let the exercise break through in the body.

It’s relatively easy to get started. Our loosened joints and tendons work. But then begins the strenuous part of yoga: holding difficult positions.

Lying on my back, I try to let my torso float off the floor while keeping my legs at the same time. My abdominal muscles are burning. “Now we’ll hold it for a moment.” Oh, I’m not so sure. I try, but halfway through I have to take a break. Yoga is a lot more strenuous than you think. “Blue stretching, powerful and dynamic yoga and breathing exercises bring body, mind and soul into harmony,” the course description shoots through my head. Did I underestimate the course?

Yoga teacher Antje Weseloh pulls her legs up and holds them tight
Yoga teacher Antje Weseloh demonstrates that the students follow suit © Jantje Ehlers

The abdominal muscles also need to be strengthened in the next exercise: I lie on my stomach and lift my stretched legs and arms. So that’s what is meant by the “strong navel”! I start sweating and try to hold the position for as long as I can. Eventually I have to stop. I have not shown a strong navel, I think. Or do I fall into performance thinking? That is exactly what is harmful in yoga, I remember Weseloh’s words. So I decide to take it easy in the next few exercises. And look and see: with a few breaks, I manage to concentrate a little more on my own body position and the correct execution of the positions in the next few exercises.

“Now let’s lie on our backs and relax. If you want, you can grab your blanket now.” Finally! The reward after this strenuous session: eight minutes break. I grab my blanket, which I so often thought of during the exercises, and lie down on my mat. The music is displayed, the light in the course room is dimmed. I close my eyes and feel my shoulders. , my stomach, my muscles. It quickly gets very hot, but not uncomfortably hot. Weseloh told me in advance that yoga is generally about letting go of everyday life. And it works: I turn off and think of nothing more.

It gives a proper muscle soreness

“So and now come back to this room.” What? Now? Was it eight minutes? Never! I try to sit up and notice that my stomach is holding up. Oh honey, it will give you good sore muscles, I think. Yoga is about feeling the body. From this moment on, I know I will feel my body for the next few days.

Finally, we participants go into a short meditation. As in the beginning, we are again sitting cross-legged. “And upright thank you so your spine is straight.” Okay, wait a minute, why are my legs shaking so much? A constant, penetrating jerk runs through my thighs. Is it normal? I open my eyes briefly and squint to the side. Is it the same for the others? It does not look like it. At least I did not go down without explaining myself first. But meditation is also a matter of practice, Antje Weseloh will tell me later.

And then the yoga set is over. We participants clap for our course leader and slowly start walking. As we roll our mats together and pack pillows and blankets together, I listen to my body. How am I? Although almost every movement is harder for me than it was an hour and a half ago, I must admit: Yes, I feel different. My back feels relaxed and my arms and legs are relaxed too.

Almost casually, Weseloh explains at the end of the course that the “navel set” is actually something for experienced students. “But I thought we could do it today.” A couple of participants laughed in relief. Apparently they felt the same way as me.

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