Friday, January 16, 2009

Old dog learns new yoga tricks...

This morning I went to a yoga class -- one designed for people over fifty and while I'd rather not, I fit into that category. I'd debated and debated whether or not to go, thinking that the class would be too slow for me. But, since it was Friday and I've committed to one class a week (a new year's resolution....) I thought how bad could it be?

I parked the car in the lot, grabbed my purple rubber mat from the backseat, and began speed walking up the meandering path toward the yoga room, almost running over a fifty plus plus woman's back.

Then my judgments kicked in. I decided that everyone looked older and stiffer than me. Certainly I was not as out of shape as any of them appeared. The room was crowded and everyone was clamoring to put their yoga mats near a wall--to hold themselves up I thought.

I paid my fee, unrolled my magic purple carpet in front of a small wall which meant I didn't have to share wall space with anyone else. It would have been smarter for me to be along the same long wall as others because there were a few near collisions with feet in my face and arms slapping across my belly during the class. As I said, class was full.

A very tall man walked in, unrolled his mat, and sat fairly close to the space I'd claimed. He pulled a bolster under his skinny white legs and as he did so, he began to lean toward the left until eventually, in what seemed to be slow motion, his head hit the wall followed by a face plant in the carpet.

Think Artie Johnson on Laugh-In back in the 60's. He'd come on stage riding a little tricycle wearing a yellow rain slicker and hat and fall over--as though he and the tricycle were one object.

Several people asked him if he was okay and he said yes. He didn't look one bit embarrassed. I couldn't help but think if that were me, I'd be red faced and ready to crawl under my mat. Then I thought -- this class is SO not for me.

But I stayed. I stretched and stretched and pushed myself and at the end of the 90 minutes I'd had a good workout.

After class I headed back back to the car. I noticed that my pace had slowed considerably, I felt the sun warming my back, appreciated the lush green plants along the pathway and felt myself standing taller after those marvelous yoga stretches.

And then it hit me.... This was a class of mature men and women who were there to improve their balance and flexibility, not to impress anyone. No competition. No Lycra. No water bottles lined up like birds on a fence. Everyone in sweats, old tee-shirts, comfortable clothing.

Isn't it funny where you learn your lessons? I thought I'd come to class to stretch my body. But instead I learned a different kind of yoga stretch -- a lesson in flexibility of the mind...

We're all here doing our own thing,

regardless of age~

having our own successes and learning
from our own mistakes...
or face plants

Letting go of my judgments allowed a new flexibility and awareness to enter. These old yogis were terrific. My calendar is marked for the next six weeks...same class and I hope, same students, except maybe the guy who did the face plant.


Eileen Williams said...

I loved this little life lesson on awareness and acceptance. One of the hallmarks of the boomer generation is the "forever young" syndrome and, while that can be a positive belief in many ways, reality IS reality.
Nonetheless, when we go away on trips and I visit the hotel gym, nothing thrills me more than seeing a room full of sweaty, aging bodies, pumping iron and going for the burn.
Our generation is truly unique: flower power is alive and well. In fact, instead of "forever young," maybe we should change our motto to "geezers with gusto!"

Puss-in-Boots said...

Good for you Cindy being honest enough to recognise your own thoughts and correcting them.

I used to go to Tai Chi and it's very slow but I couldn't believe how much of a sweat I'd work up after an hour of sloooow moving. It was amazing.

Keep on with the yoga, like Tai Chi, it does wonders for your balance and fluidity.

Diana Black said...

Hi, Cindy...Well, I'm waaaaaay past 50, and used to be I could move through the Sun Exercises like flowing water. This year I too got back into yoga and it is most humbling. Getting into a cobra position in now not a pretty sight. So I REALLY enjoyed reading the account here of your experiences. Let's both keep at it and meet back here in 6 months to compare notes.

Best, Diana

Kelly Pollard said...

Loved the post, Cindy. It's funny how competitive those yoga classes can be. Often I have to force myself to close my eyes so I'm not comparing my poses to the way everyone else executes them.

Mandy said...

Great Post Cindy! Love that you came out so full of light. Wonderful blog, have a great image of skinny legs dude:) Namaste, Mandy

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