As I rapidly approach 50, I find myself to be stiff and creaky. I practice a couple seconds of Lamaze breathing when I stand from sitting. Oh sure, it’s attractive and all, but I want to change it.
I started walking last September and have enjoyed the benefits of that. I enjoy the time outdoors and I love to walk with Dexter, my Standard Poodle. I’m not setting any land speed records but I can at least walk THE HILL without crying. The hill is not exactly a mountain but there is some degree of mild elevation which almost killed me the first time we walked it. When my husband suggested we walk it again I froze with fear and actually yelled, “NO!” Since then, I have conquered it and walk it often. If I were to tell you where this slight rise in the earth’s surface is, you would laugh at me so just picture something slightly shorter than Mt. Everest and that will suffice.
When I was in my 20’s I was very active and did a lot of aerobics. Mmhmm…that’s right. It was the early 90’s. We were all leotards, headbands and leg warmers. Truly, a sight to behold. Thankfully, cell phones with cameras were still a distant dream and therefore no mirror selfies floating out on the interweb. But I was limber and didn’t creak when I walked. The only Lamaze breathing I did was in actual childbirth.
Fast forward a whole lot of years that contained lots of children with needs like daily meals and clean clothes and any time to focus on my own fitness went by the wayside.
Now that all but one of those birdies has flown the coop, I am determined to focus on regrouping. My focus is not only on the physical, but also on sharpening what is important in my life. Being more calm and quiet is topping my list. I’m sorry, was I the only one who heard my husband cheering when I said quiet???
To this end, I set my sights on yoga. I wanted to go to the local yoga studio and be calm and centered and flexible and strong. As is often the case, the idea is much different than the reality.
I roped my friend Elizabeth into attending a beginners class with me last week. Given that we are both chatty and, truth be told, enjoy our own humor way too much, we were mildly afraid we would not be able to be quiet. Yoga is quiet, right? Neither of us is good at quiet. So we went and got in the way back row in case we got the church giggles and couldn’t stop.
Class began and I was immediately too stiff to do whatever we were instructed to do. Being naturally competitive, I determined in my heart that minute that I WILL conquer Yoga. Elizabeth and I followed along pretty well. We didn’t look at each other, which helped. At one point when we were lying on our backs, I started to snicker because I could hear her chewing her gum. The curse of ADD is we attend to EVERY noise in the room. I made myself focus on something other than her gum chewing and the giggles passed.
Just as I was getting the hang of following along we struck a pose that may or may not have had something to do with lizards. There was some silliness about reaching back and taking hold of our opposite foot. Now, the reaching back was hindered by my back fat that bunched up and I couldn’t even find my foot regardless of how much I swung my arm back and forth. My resolve to master all things yoga intensified.
We used our straps to hold our foot out in front and then to the sides. While the instructor used her hand to hold her foot out with nary a wobble, Elizabeth and I toppled like bowling pins. I was awed by the grace and calm strength the instructor displayed. I want that!
Towards the end we sat on our bolsters with our legs criss-cross-applesauced…except we stacked our legs. Well others did. My legs were all, “No way, Hosea. Remember that back surgery you had a few years ago and then were too afraid to bend or stretch afterwards because you were scared you would goof up something? Well that means that we, your very own hips, are now locked in the standing position. Sorry.”
I silently cursed my stiff hips and lower back and again, determined in my heart, that I would conquer yoga.
At the end of class as we lay on the floor in what I can only assume is supposed to be a relaxing pose, the instructor came around and massaged our necks with lovely peppermint smelling hands. I’d go back for that alone.
I now have a new goal. I am going to show these stiff hips and back just who is boss. I am going to become one with myself…my limber, strong and calm self.