I took my first yoga class in 12 days. It was a simple hatha class at Thrive Yoga with Jane Stelboum. Some would consider it a leisurely paced class; others would walk out because it did not include any major vinyasa sequences. It knocked the bejesus out of me. We held warrior II and lunges for what seemed like ages. I took child’s pose in surrender. As I write this, my hips, groin and back are aching. It is a physical pain that would intimidate a novice because yoga is supposed to be exercise for wimps.
Because I’ve broken through multiple layers of hardened fascia and let the yoga poses and alignment seep into my muscle memory, I find that I sink into the poses deeper. Because I’ve maintained my range of movement with my maintenance routines of stretching and restorative, I dive into a hatha pose without instinctive resistance pushing back. So when I dig that deep, I’m exposing whole bundles of muscles that have rarely been extended like this from a posture of weakness.
For nearly two weeks, I’ve shirked yoga class for what seemed like valid reasons (work, family, writing projects, schedule conflicts, cancelled classes, laziness, and reasons that I don’t want to confess in public), and I never picked up the slack with my home practice. And I was already in a deep deficit of physical conditioning. I am not even talking about recovering my stamina to what it was a year ago, after yoga teacher training, or three years ago when my parents health started going bad.
I swear I will not let this happen to me again (he said for the umpteenth time since taking up yoga!)! Only 10 minutes, 20 minutes of vinyasa or weight-bearing poses on non-class days would go along way to sustaining performance.
At work, on the yoga mat, in front of a computer screen or with a blank sheet of paper and pen in hand, wherever, I am discovering that aging carries a surcharge. I am going to be 65 years old in seven weeks. My body and mind degrade automatically, noticeably, relentlessly, unless I make a conscious effort to cultivate resilience and hardiness.
Postscript: the pain hurts less the morning after.