Let’s do the cow, the cat, downward dog, upward dog, the tree . . .if you would have asked me what these words have in common 6 months ago, I would have said: Hummm! a farm??
You see that’s when I decided to step outside the box and tried something new: Yoga.
Actually I had taken one class a long time ago,when I was in my 50’s, in a church basement with about 25 other people. I Did Not Like It.
No siree . . .not for me. I needed to move baby. That was then! (I took hip-hop classes instead which is a topic for another post)
Move forward to last Fall, and here I was ready to visit it again. This time though, my teacher is also friend and it’s in her studio in her house and there are never more than 10 people at a time,last Friday we were 4.
Now I love it. Ok only for the first 50 minutes, then love changes to like as I’m trying to hold my downward dog pose with my butt high in the air for 5 slow breaths but my legs start to shake and I’m hoping this is the last Sun Salutation.
So why have my opinion of yoga changed?
With bad knees and bad tendinitis in both feet (yep getting old sucks!),hip-hop and roller-blading are out of the question LOL so a girl needs to adapt and find something doable.
And the first thing that our teacher, Jasmine, told us was that yoga is a personal thing, you do what you can and there are props to help you make it easier. Believe me, I need all the help I can get and use the blanket under my knees, a little pillow under a big toe, blocks under my legs . . .I use them all.
Also I don’t need to go buy special clothes or shoes (we are barefoot during the class), don’t have to look my best, don’t have to outdo others, but I love the fact that I get better and more flexible each week.
Just like kids in preschool during siesta
The dictionary says: Yoga is a series of postures and breathing exercises to gain control of your body and mind.
So understand my surprise when we were told that every session starts with us lying on our mats, head on a folded blanket, a tiny pillow on our eyes, and our legs resting comfortably over a big round cushion. I was expecting someone to start snoring any minute now!
This practice helps clear our minds of all the madness of the every day life. We just focus on a rhythmic breathing (through the nose) like following the motion of waves on the ocean.
I even use this method when I can’t fall asleep at night . . .and it works!
The benefits of The Sun Salutation
This is a sequence of 12 different poses, one after the other, that we do 5-6 times in a row in a flowing motion. By the time you’re finished the last one, believe me, you’re hot!
While searching for a picture of the Sun Salutation, I discovered the benefits:
- The standing poses ground you and help you find your center
- Forward bend and halfway lift elongate your spine, stretch your hamstrings and cleanse your digestive system
- Plank and four-limb staff poses engage the muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest and abdomen
- Upward-facing dog stretches your upper body as it opens your chest and frees your breathing
- Downward-facing dog works muscles in your entire body and calms your nervous system
There is a lot of balancing and stretching
I’m sure I grew by at least 1/2 inch since I started last Fall!
I’m very happy that I can manage to do the tree (like the picture on the right) and hold my balance most of the time.
It’s all a matter of focusing on something, and for me that something is the feet of the person facing me!
I like the fact that I’m not competing with others to do these poses well, but I’m trying to do better than my previous attempts.
I like the fact that for 90 minutes, nothing happening outside of that studio matters to me.
I’m concentrating on one thing only: not falling and hit my face!
What about you? Are you a yogi? Have you ever tried yoga?