I understand why we wake up at 65 or so and are stiff and unable to do the things we took for granted all our lives. The decline is so slow as to be almost imperceptible, unless you are diligent in noticing those minute changes that sum to the end result.
So lately, in my effort to increase my ease of motion and flexibility, my try new thing has been yoga. I already do weights and treadmill although while I was away I lost some serious ground in my abilities in both areas. So I was only missing the flexibility piece.
And yoga provides that piece along with some great strength training. It also gives you functional exercise…exercise that prepares your body for real life. Kind of fluid motion. Strength when and where you need it as you go about your day.
I have dabbled in yoga for a long time. In and Out. Never really engaging. Except for one strange inexplicable time when I wrote this post.
While I was away in Bali and Thailand, I participated in yoga classes almost every day. In marvelous outdoor studios with blue skies and fresh air. But I struggled still. I want to be good at what I do. And with yoga, I needed to spend the time in quiet practice to get to good. Impatience to experience the good things about yoga.
But, then again, is yoga about being good or being home in your body.
I felt like I was not good at yoga…I went to several classes at the gym since I have been home and I worked at all the asanas and two things were evident by the end of the class. One is that I was not very flexible. And secondly, that I was not very strong. And let me add a third thing…I could not wait until it was over. I thought maybe yoga was not my thing. Maybe I was too old to start.
So two weeks ago, I wandered into a new class and it turned out to be a beginner class. And I could suddenly do all the poses. And I loved every minute of the class. All sixty minutes of it. And when it was over I felt amazing. I loved it!
Without even realizing it, I had jumped into the deep end of the pool at my first swimming lesson! And now I was having fun in the shallow end.
Now I crave yoga. As long as it is within or slightly beyond my range of motion. When I do yoga, it reminds me of how I used to feel. What it felt like when I was a flexible roll-in-the-grass kid. That is what yoga does for you.
There are only two beginner yoga sessions at the gym to which I belong, and both of them are early in the week. I needed one more class to keep me flexible later in the week. So I went online and signed up at My Yoga Online and now for $7.95/m I get access to lots of beginner classes to fill my week. They have all levels, so as I get more flexible, I can grow with them.
The beginner classes there are amazing … tonight I did a 60 minute class that felt so peaceful. It didn’t feel long at all and the feeling of wishing it was over is gone. I want it to go on and on.
In three weeks I can see great gains in both my flexibility and balance, both of which will serve me well as I age.
I am a beginner. Hard to admit that as I have been quite physical all my life.
Along the way, I wondered if I had just jumped on another bandwagon with yoga. Kind of…everyone is doing it so I should do it. And I should love it. (Gotta stop shoulding)
But after these last three weeks, I realize it is so much more than that. The photograph is from an article about a vibrant 93-year-old woman who teaches yoga in Central Park. I want to be able to do that! And now that I have recognized that I am a beginner, anything is possible.