After his first class, he is addicted. The next time I see him, he struts his brand new yoga mat and yogi toes. He is committed. Three or four classes later, he is still smiling, but he stops me after class this time. Every now and then one person would actually brave up and ask a question after class. “Does coffee make you stiff?” he asks. Hmmm… I had to think about this one for a bit because I’m not a java head. “Maybe… do you drink a lot of coffee?” I said. “Yes! I need to,” he blurts out. “Do you drink water and stay hydrated during the day?” I ask. “I feel hydrated,” he says. I mention to him that caffeine acts like a diuretic and sucks the water out of your system. When you (your muscles and tissues) are dehydrated, they become tense, knotted, and probably feel stiff and then become more dehydrated when you come to a heated class. He asks, “Does it matter when I drink the coffee? I’m guessing right before class isn’t a good idea, eh?” I say that I wouldn’t recommend it. If caffeine makes you alert, it also makes your muscles alert in a way that is not the alert/engagement way that I remind you to awaken your body parts. It makes the muscles twitch on a level that makes it hard for them to relax so you can stretch it or strengthen it.
He nods with curiousity and continues to ask more questions about nutrition. He says, “I heard that if you wait for an hour or two to eat after a workout, you could lose more weight faster?” I had to disagree and told him in my experience, I eat and hydrate immediately after a workout. The body needs to refuel. You just worked the muscles, sweated, eliminated not only the “junk” but also the vital nutrients and minerals the body needs. When you eat at the right times, the metabolism becomes more efficient. It is when you starve the body that the metabolism slows down and the body begins to hibernate to store the little amount of nutrients and energy that is left because it does not know when the next time it’s gonna be fed.
He looks intrigued with great curiousity and nods his head while telling me that he usually waits to eat. I’m going to eat and see how I feel afterwards. I also remind him to pay close attention to how his body reacts after he gets his caffeine fix. “I will,” he says.
A big inner smile stretches across my face. “Wow! He’s on his way to building a relationship with his body and discovering a lot about himself… the seeds of transformation planted and I hope he comes back to get it watered so I can watch it grow!”
A lesson he reminded me of: be curious about every aspect of the practice, not just the alignment of a yoga pose.