Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yoga and me

I would love to tell you that I can do a headstand or the pigeon or any number of poses, but the sad truth is I can't even stand on one foot very well. I'd also love to tell you I practice my yoga every day, but, alas, I don't. I average about four days a week. If I don't do it early in the morning, I'm probably not going to get it done that day unless Jacob goes home early and I have no plans for the evening. Sometimes I let my desire to watch the news get in the way in the evening. So mornings are better--if I don't have errands to run and things to do outside the house.
And oh my! can I procrastinate! I remind myself of the late Erma Bombeck who would rather scrub floors or wash windows than face a blank computer screen. I fiddle with this and that in the kitchen, I straighten things I would never otherwise think of straightening. Finally I make myself go in the back room, spread out the mat, takes off my shoes and get to it.
And then I enjoy it. If I think about 30-40 minutes, it seems forever, but before I know it, I find myself doing the closing exercises of my routine. And there are some things I can do that I'm pretty proud of. Wish I knew the names of all the poses, but I'm getting pretty good at warrior, and I can do ten mini-push-ups (may not sound like much but at my age, for someone who started four years ago, I think it's pretty good). I can hold the boat pose for a count of 20; one day when I did that my yoga instructor said, "Do you realize how much strength that takes?" And I'm really proud of my spinal balance--you kneel on all fours, then extend one leg and the opposite arm. I added an exercise--one leg raised with the hips off the floor and supported by the opposite leg, bent at the knee; then the other leg; and finally both legs, with hips off the floor,, supported by your arms. That led Elizabeth to say, "Look at you! You're doing pilates!" Little did I know.
I should add that Elizabeth, my yoga instructor nad longtime friend, lives in my garage apartment these days. I don't take lessons, but she's around if I want to ask about a certain pose or something.
At the end of a yoga session, you're supposed to relax and meditate. When I first started and was taking regular lessons, Elizabeth said to me one day, "You're reading the titles in the bookcase, aren't you?" I was. But these days I really do empty my mind and go through a relaxation series, followed by meditation which for me turns into prayer. And when I'm done, I truly do feel refreshed and better.
I"m prone to falling. As my oldest son Colin said, "Mom, it's not that your balance is bad. It's that you don't look where you're going." I've taken several falls in recent months--the worst was when I fell into the open dishwasher, after tripping on a turned up rug--but I have, knock on wood, avoided serious injury. I attribute it to yoga.
 So why do I procrastinate? I think because I always feel the rush of other things I have to do. But of all the things on my plate, yoga is probably one most important to my well-being. Maybe I can work up to five days a week.

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