There’s something about the very mention of yoga that causes most non-believers to immediately roll their eyes or tune out of the conversation completely. It’s probably the new-agey preachiness of yogi masters helping you to find balance in life in a deep and spiritual manner, blah blah blah. I felt the same exact way until a friend took me to a free poolside lesson at the Shanghai Hyatt. After breaking into a heavy sweat in the first 10 minutes, I realized that this yoga isn’t about sitting still and simple stretching, but about working your muscles in a way that other exercise doesn’t even come close to.
As a runner who just finished my fifth marathon, needless to say I’m proud of my endurance. But after being thoroughly humbled by yoga poses that seemed utterly impossible except for perhaps a Cirque du Soleil performer (but how is everyone else in the class doing it??), I signed up for a 3-month unlimited package, and never looked back. Most of all I feel yoga working my core, bringing about great ab definition and strength, something that is essential for running and most other sports, and can also help reduce lower back pain.
But for an added bonus, The New York Times recently outlined how yoga can be a great tool for coping with hangovers. After a night of touring the best Shanghai bars, this could be rather clutch.
“Though there is no evidence to support claims that yoga will eliminate alcohol’s toxic effects, ‘we do feel that yoga reduces stress and has health benefits,’ said Dr. Debbie L. Cohen, a kidney specialist at the University of Pennsylvania who is studying yoga as an alternative to medication to lower high blood pressure.”
It may be flimsy “science,” and dragging your hungover butt to the yoga studio is half the battle, but it probably is better than wallowing in pain at home. The article continues, “She recommends starting with sun salutations, an energetic series of poses that ‘increase the heart rate, build heat in the body and get the breath flowing in a way that can improve oxygen uptake.'”
For a series of pictures of moves you can probably manage at home, check out the original link.
Yoga is just one of many ways to stay active in Shanghai. Of course, at UnTour Shanghai, we’re also partial to running, or even walking and eating. We’re even considering a little white collar boxing. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about staying fit in the city.
For yoga options in Shanghai, check out either of these two highly recommended studios:
Yoga Space: 3rd Floor, No, 35 Gaoan Road (near Hengshan Road). Tel: 6431 7572
Red Door Yoga: #903, 69 Yanping Road, Jing An District. Tel: 1352 416 2501.