Saturday, May 12, 2012

Om........


YOGA @ WORK by P1ncYOGA @ WORK, a photo by P1nc on Flickr.



A long time ago, in a country far, far away, I signed up for yoga lessons. It was at the British School, down the road from where we lived in Belgium. The biggest advantage was that the instructor was a native English speaker. Since I expended tremendous amounts of mental energy "speaking in tongues" every time I left the house, I didn't have any reserves to use on figuring out what a yoga instructor was saying----unless she said it  in English. Buying bread at the bakery, or vegetables at the village market, or cheeses from the delicatessen  all necessitated "speaking in tongues," my own special blend of French, which I'd learned in school, German, which we'd learned while living in Germany, Flemish, which was the official language in our village, mime which I made up on the spot, and a generous helping of  Gibberish to balance everything out. I had even taken the extreme measure of signing up for Flemish lessons in our village. What made this move extreme was that the only flemish classes available were taught in French....as if I didn't have enough chaos in my head already! But I was determined that it was worth a try.  As for my forays to the market, the bakery and the deli, believe it or not, I usually arrived home with exactly what I had set out to buy. But it took it's toll. My clothing would be damp and clammy, and my face scarlet from the combination of my linguistic exertions and acute embarrassment.  Not the effect I was after in a yoga class.




And that was only the half of it. We still, at that time in our lives, had a full house which included a black lab with escape-artist tendencies, a Belgian Malinois puppy one of the children had brought home from the nearby stables, a supercilious Himalayan cat, a pair of chinchillas, an ever changing parade of lizards, frogs and geckos, and several young humans at various stages of development. Getting activities and meals and schedules organized so that I could go to yoga was, in itself, a major feat. I was usually dashing out the door, calling last minute instructions over my shoulder to whichever child I was leaving in charge, and skating in on one heel, after everyone else was already breathing deeply on their mats in preparation for the start of class. Mumbling incoherent [but English!] apologies, I'd flop down onto my mat and fill my lungs with air, then exhale, slowly, until my lungs were as empty as I could get them, then fill them up again.........

And then I'd wake up.....

 ......to the sounds of everyone around me rolling up their mats and gathering their belongings. Almost every time I'd fall asleep after those first few breaths. I must have slept quietly, no snoring, since no one ever poked me in the ribs to either wake me up or shut me up. The instructor never called in the janitors to remove the unresponsive body. She might have been miffed that someone would sleep in her class, or, if one of the purposes of yoga is indeed to relax, she might have thought me her star pupil.....I was too embarrassed to stick around long enough to find out, but scurried off while her more actively enthusiastic students engaged her in after class chit-chat. And while each class was a restful and relaxing experience, I didn't come away from them with any greater knowledge of yoga than I'd had at the outset. So my yoga career was shelved indefinitely.

Until now.

 A few weeks ago, having had it in mind for months, I finally went to a yoga class. And stayed awake the entire time! I seem to have finally reached a point in life where I am, absolutely, ready for this. No use crying over the fact that if I had started a few years ago I might have been much better equipped for some of the curve balls life has thrown this way recently. No matter.  No amount of knowing you should do something, or having someone else tell you how good it would be for you, can make it happen. The only way it happens is to pick the day, ascertain that a class is offered on that day, rummage in the closet for something to wear that is comfortable, cool, and not too ridiculous looking, then get in the car and GO! There's even the added bonus of learning some words in yet another foreign language!

I'm loving it! Even if it is sometimes a hassle to fit it in around everything else, I'm always glad I made the effort. If you have even the slightest inclination to try it I'd say don't wait another day. I've already felt the preamble to rigor mortis---in my lack of flexibility, or the creaking that goes on when I bend my knees. Yoga can change all that, strengthen our core muscles and restore flexibility, and if you find it all a bit strenuous at first you can breathe deep and take a nice, restful nap. I promise not to tell.

15 comments:

persiflage said...

To everything there is a season...I am almost inspired to have another go mysellf!

patty said...

I always enjoyed my yoga classes, have taken them several times, still do a few positions when the old back starts to creak. The are very restful, which is the whole purpose!

Ali Honey said...

Oh well done. Loved the part about falling asleep...you obviously didn't snore!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I always used to do that in P.E. lessons at school . The bouncy young teacher would call , "And , Relax ..." and I'd go out like a light . So I've got that bit off pat .
But I'm rather afraid that , these days , all that stretching and bending would result in bits of me snapping like a perished rubber band .

Thimbleanna said...

You're too funny! I just started a yoga class a few months ago at our health center at work. I'm so surprised that I LOVE it! I don't quite get the relaxation part and I'm terrible at the poses, but it's paying off already. I'm much more bendy than I used to be -- I'm really into that forward fold LOL!

And what an amazing and interesting life you've had Molly! Lived all over the world and played with all those languages -- so exciting!

Molly said...

Persi---Do it! Do it! Do it!

Patty---Sounds like the trick to growing old gracefully [in every sense of the word] is to keep moving and stay flexible!

Ali---It's more fun if you stay awake, though it depends what need is greater! Back then, in The Exhausted Years, my need for sleep trumped just about everything else!

S&S---But,if you could, wouldn't you rather restore some elasticity to that old rubber band?

Anna---It was interesting but, unless you're in a country for an extended period, you never feel completely relaxed and at home because so much of what is being said all around you goes completely over your head!

Relatively Retiring said...

I did yoga for several years, and never once did I do any of the exercises on my own at home. Really stupid, but I could only be motivated by being with others. It's lovely that your motivation was to get an hour's sleep - and it sounds as if you really needed it. I hope you continue to enjoy it now.

Molly said...

RR---Now that you're going to be a grandma you'll need to limber up! Time to dig your yoga mat out from the depths of Walnut Cottage, dust it off and get stretching!

Gillie said...

Oh was a silver tongued Irish lady you are to be sure, I am sorely tempted! I Nordic walk every day and the shape of me has definitely improved but could go a bit further in the flexibility department. Okay, off to have a think!

Molly said...

Hello Molly,
I am glad to see that you are still blogging. After a year vacation, I am again posting entries on my blog. I wish you well with the yoga.

Pauline said...

I was given yoga exercises to do after a back injury. I wish I'd kept up with them - you've inspired me to start again. It's amazing the difference it makes. Thanks!

Isabelle said...

I don't think I'll join you (even at a distance). Too many memories of being the least flexible pupil in the gym class... . Yes, I realise that it might improve me, but I don't think I feel strong enough to take the risk.

Sorry about the curved balls. A few of them around here too.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I've wanted to do yoga for several years but care giving makes it difficult. Or else I am using it as a good excuse. My daughter does the very strenuous kind of yoga but assures me that the gentlest kind would help with my many bodily pains, and I'm sure she's right. Your post gives me encouragement, and I'm delighted that you are taking care of yourself in this way. (You doubtless fell asleep previously because of your many household duties to so many people and creatures. And that was what you needed then - a good nap.)

Julie's Journey said...

Namaste and welcome to the wonderful world of yoga. It centres my soul. The teacher makes all the difference (and I have had some bad ones) but now have a wonderful woman who lets us all go at our own pace with gentle corrections. If my poor old body can manage this anyone can.

aubirdwoman said...

Molly how about setting your comments on other blogs so that I can reply lol.

Absolutely loved The PostMistress.

Have read and loved The Forgotten Garden.

How are you going with the one you are reading with your son. Not sure if I would like that.
How about Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins ..will I like that.

you have been quiet hope all is well
hugs from downunder where it is cold and wet. (as I keep telling everyone)