Limber or Lumber

Helen yoga Image via Wikipedia I finally got up enough courage to sign up for a yoga class that began this month.  It’s taken me a lot of years to get to this point.  Now I’ve long admired anyone who can pull off those skin-tight outfits (we used to call them “leotards” in my prepubescent ballet class days) with panache.  They’re usually the same people who move with a cat-like grace and look like they haven’t eaten a doughnut in years, let alone been tempted to devour an entire cake in one sitting.  I ain’t one of ’em.

I guess what finally gave me the courage to get to a yoga classroom was the realization that living a long life isn’t going to be all that great if I end up slumped in a wheelchair, too weak to support my weight because I’ve let my muscles atrophy like my almost 98-year-old mother.  It takes 3 nurses just to get her into her wheelchair or off and on a toilet now.

Buddha, Kamakura, JapanImage via WikipediaI found a yoga class that was billed as “An Introduction to Yoga.”  It sounded perfect for me.  I wanted to ease into it slowly and not become so intimidated that I’d run for the nearest bakery at the first hint of challenge. 

Woman sitting cross-leggedImage via WikipediaMy first class wasn’t so bad.  Most of the other class members were about as inexperienced as I was, although I DID appear to be the oldest in the group.  Our first pose was just to sit cross-legged on our mats, like those serene statues I’d seen pictures of.  Uh-huh!  I THINK I used to be able to do that but when I tried this time, my knees wouldn’t come anywhere close to the floor and my ankles were screaming in protest.  Our instructor told us that we could grab a little round cushion, bolster, or blanket to sit on to get our hips up higher than our knees to correct our pose and make it more comfortable.  Most grabbed the cushions or blankets.  I headed straight for the thicker bolster and sat on that.  Hmmm, it was a little better but still uncomfortable.  I hoped it would get better over time. 

We did some breathing exercises.  I was pretty good at those.  I mean, how can you screw those up, right?  From those we went to a standing pose – the “Mountain Pose.”  This was good….it was just standing tall with a little shoulder roll to loosen things up.  Hey, look at me.  I was doing yoga.  Whee!

We moved from this to a Standing Forward Bend.  I think our instructor told us to try to place our palms flat on the floor next to our feet.  I was too busy trying to figure out where to put my stomach.  My stomach won out and my palms never made it any further than mid-calf.

From there we got down on our mats on all fours to do the “Cat” and “Dog” pose.  No problem with those.  These were easy.  The other poses we’ve been learning since that first class have included the Downward Dog (think making your body into an inverted “v” – it ISN’T easy, especially if your arms aren’t strong), the Warrior Pose (I LIKE this one.  Maybe it’s my military background), the Extended Triangle (Groan….I was never very good at Geometry), and the Big Toe Pose (are you KIDDING me?  Could we go for the Fat Knee Pose and call it good?)

Our instructor also had us try the Lunge the other day.  We were supposed to get into that by going from a Downward Dog, then lifting one leg up high into the air (I had this sudden urge to look for a fire hydrant), and then walk that leg up between our hands.  Are you freaking kidding me?  My “walk” became a collapse and then a scramble on all fours to get into position.  I looked anything but graceful.  My muscles were still protesting from the whole leg in the air business.

Thank goodness that each class ends with the Corpse pose.  I’m REALLY good at that one.  In fact, I’ve actually started to doze off in that position.  This coming week will be the halfway point of our six-week class.  I keep telling myself that I’m getting limber.  Secretly, I’m more inclined to think that I’m about as limber as a piece of lumber.  I can only hope that this will be an asset when our instructor teaches us the Plank pose.

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Hot Flashed Funk

  • Loved your descriptions! LOL.
    Makes me miss my Wii Fit. (Been kind of hard to get into it since my house is now home to 5 other people)
    I like the Warrior Pose, too. Always makes me feel like I’m actually in control.

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