“It helps you get more in touch with your body.”
My osteopath acupressured my hip, ankle and lower back, then stated the above about yoga.
I’m learning to listen to my body and tune in to my gut instincts, particularly when dealing with others, and especially when I get a weird vibe about something or someone.
I’ve attempted yoga three or four times before. Hated it every one of those times. I understand and sympathize with the tongue-in-cheek description of a woman’s hellish yoga sessions that made the email rounds some years ago.
Tai chi was my meditation and balance exercise of choice for two years. A painful, wobbly ankle ended that gig and motivated the appointments with the osteopath.
Thus the yoga recommendation.
“Maureen’s classes are great, not too advanced, she gages the level of the participants and adjusts the routines accordingly.”
I doubt she could adjust them low enough for my comfort, but the osteopath has been spot on with other recommendations for me, from various exercises to cutting out caffeine and avoiding very spicy foods (this isn’t medical advice for others, it was suggested for me).
If it is, as some have described, a spiritual practice that uses physical postures as a conduit to a deeper understanding of the body, I had to give yoga another chance to redeem itself.
Saturday morning and I know I can’t eat too much unless I want to throw up during my first downward dog. One piece of toast with a bit of peanut butter. I do need protein. And it’s an hour before class. Enough time to get it digested.
After all, my doctor once told me that stomach acid to so strong it can dissolve iron.
I’m 60 years old and as limber as a 2’x4’. I still can’t balance well despite the two years of tai chi. It’s because I have very narrow feet. For real. It’s easier to balance on something wide than something skinny, right?
The first exercise to sitting. You’d think it’d be easy, right? My wonky hip doesn’t like lotus position, but I manage a reasonable facsimile with the help of two yoga blocks.
Then the stretching and bending begin. Tabletop position is fine, and planks are okay, I’ve done them often enough to hold on for about 40 seconds, which probably isn’t long for a lot of you but I started with 8 seconds. (If you can plank for over a minute I don’t want to hear about it.)
The toast is not digested. It has an aversion to stomach acid and wants to escape. It works its way up my esophagus and parks halfway up my rib cage. It feels like an apricot pit.
The instructor says something about a jump. The others peel their flexible feet off the mat and hop them into position next to their hands which are still firmly planted on the mat. Their foreheads almost touch their kneecaps.
I try the jump. My feet stick to the mat and my fingers start bending backwards as I rock forward. The toast moves up and lodges somewhere in the vicinity of my boobs.
Since everyone is hanging upside down, I stand, step forward and then bend over to place my hands as close to my feet as my hamstrings allow.
The pit in my esophagus doesn’t know what to do and decides enough is enough. It edges closer to freedom right around my throat.
I hate bending over, even if my forehead doesn’t come anywhere close to my kneecaps. The neck of my t-shirt is up by my eyes and my boobs almost hit my nose.
I need to salute my water bottle. I take a few sips, willing the piece of stone to move back home to my stomach.
It settles in halfway down, ready the next downward dog.
I think I’ll sue my doctor.