Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the path to truth (or why i love yoga)

I have always hated exercise.  Mostly because to me it felt like work.  I could stay focused and do it, with a goal in sight, but then I would inevitably and eventually come to a grinding halt.  I never really enjoyed anything about it.

Until yoga.  I loved it from the first leg-wobbling-like-jello pose that I did in the first class I went to.  I was a total mess at the end of the class, but I felt as though I had accomplished something.  At a speed I could keep up with.  I lost some weight as a by-product of getting some exercise, but I couldn't tell I was getting any more flexible with it.

Last weekend, on Sunday when I snapped these photos of Maddie I had my first "aha!" moment.  In order to get a good angle on a shot like this, you need to be on the same level as the subject.

Maddie is 7 years old.  Which means that even though I am short, Maddie is shorter.  That means if I squat down, I am stuck.  Because I don't have the strength to get back up without pushing myself up with my hands.

Until Sunday.  I squatted down.  And shot multiple photos.  When I got ready to stand back up, I did.

Without using my hands.  Using only the leg muscles I suddenly realized I had all along.  Without feeling one bit of strain doing it.  AHA!

My legs aren't made of jello now.  At least not until the end of each yoga class.  The instructor manages to find muscles I didn't know I had each week, and pummel them (gracefully on her part) into dust.  I am a quivering, sweating mass of gelatinous goo at the end of every class, dragging my sweating self home to collapse.

Then I go back the next time.  Because I enjoy the punishment?

No.  Because I feel stronger every time.  And at my age, exercise is more about strength and stamina than looks.  So I will keep doing the cat-cow pose, the downward dog, and the extended child until I can do them without a hitch, and without my muscles screaming at me to stop.

And because my teacher is so cool, she didn't blink an eye when I screamed "holy shit!" last night after a particularly toe wrenching, butt screaming, leg aching pose.

Namaste. is good. ~cath
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