So I said I wanted to start practicing yoga again. I have been doing it! I’ve been doing at least 15 minutes of yoga everyday for about 2 1/2 weeks now. I feel the difference. I don’t know why I resist it! It helps me in so many ways, and it only takes a short amount of time. And …. yet … I resist. I’d rather write … or check Facebook …. or read a magazine … or even go out for a walk. Why? I told you … I DON”T KNOW.
Yoga is a great strength-training and stretching workout. It’s beneficial because you challenge your muscles while they are elongated. You can read this article for more on eccentric contraction which is apparently very beneficial for your joints, bones and muscles. At 52, I’m concerned with building bone or at least keeping what I’ve got, and yoga is great for that. I do all kinds of body weight resistance when I twist, lift and hold in yoga poses. The muscle pulls against the bone, and this causes the bone to do whatever it does to resist bone loss. Yoga can’t be beat for stretching, and as a runner and a person who sits on my butt all day, I need to stretch. I can already tell how much better my joints and muscles feel. Honestly, when I’m doing yoga I feel as good as when I was in my 30s- no aches and pains. If I stop doing it for awhile, my joints get achy, my muscles get tight, and I lose range of motion. And … still … I RESIST.
A young woman I worked with at ServiceMaster came up to me one day to ask for some stretches to open her chest. I taught a yoga class after work there, so I was the resident yoga expert. She was telling me that her chest was so tight that it was killing her. She showed me the stretches she’d been doing, and she was complaining about the pain the whole time. So, I showed her a couple of yoga stretches she could do that would help alleviate tightness. Now, this woman was young. She should not be having these problems. I know that our chest muscles get tight when we hunch over a computer or if we round our shoulders in order to protect our chest or …. really … our heart. Think about it. When someone feels confident and courageous, they stick their chest out. When someone is timid and afraid of being hurt, they hunker down and try to be invisible. So, I asked her, “Are you needing to protect your heart from someone?” She looked at me incredulously. “My boyfriend,” she said. I told her that she could do all the stretching she wants, but, if she wants to open her chest … her heart … she needs to set some boundaries on that relationship so she feels safe. That’s the kind of stuff yoga teaches you. And yet …. I RESIST.
When I practice, I play new age yoga music which is relaxing and calm, I light a lavender candle and maybe burn some incense. I put out my mat, I practice, I do a nice long relaxing Savasana (corpse pose) at the end while I’m covered in blankets, prop myself with bolsters until I feel perfectly supported and cover my eyes with a velvety eye pillow. It’s the most relaxing, wonderful few minutes of the day. I listen to my breath, let go of the stress of the day and R … E …. L … A …X. My cats lay down on top of me because my energy is so relaxed, and my body is so warm and comfy. And yet …. I RESIST.
I took a yoga teacher training class back in 2002. I met one of my best friends Nancy there. We had a lot in common. For 8 weekends in 8 months we spent an entire weekend with two 30 year yoga teachers learning about yoga, asanas, anatomy and breathing. We would do yoga all weekend as we practiced poses, took classes in order to observe instructors and just played around. Every time I’d leave one of those weekends I felt exhausted, but I also felt strong and stretched out and happy. It was one of the most miserable times in my life otherwise. But, the yoga weekends saved me. Nancy and I would practice together after our training was over with our candles and our music and deep, deep savasana. We’d hug after it was over, and I remember Nancy saying, “And why do we resist this?” We’d laugh because yoga is soooooo yummy. And … yes … I RESIST.
There are so many different types of yoga. I started out with Bikram which is a hot yoga that lasts about an hour and a half. It was great for me because of my Type A-ness. It got me practicing yoga. Once I realized how much better I felt, I was hooked. I later discovered Kripalu yoga which is a more meditational style yoga. I do my own thing which is a mix of all the types of yoga that I’ve practiced. Sometimes I like Power Yoga. Other times I like to just lay and breath. It’s all yoga. There’s a style for everybody, and there’s a style for every day. I’ve been to workshops with great teachers all over the country. They all teach very differently and have their own philosophies. Above all, yoga is a personal study of your own body and how it works. I’ve learned so much about who I am and how I operate and think by getting on my yoga mat and moving. A teacher one time told us that we can tell who we are by the way we approach our practice. If I compare myself to others the entire time, I probably do that in life. If I push through the poses when I’m not really ready for them, I probably approach life by pushing too hard. If I am lazy and do things halfway, I probably show up like that in life. If I RESIST …. well, if I RESIST … maybe I resist what’s good for me in life.
Hmmmmm …. I think I may have just figured this out. I need to go practice now. And, yet …. I RESIST. 🙂