Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Try, try again

I am a perennial yoga drop out. I can’t recall the number of times I have enrolled for a class, eager to improve my well being, and committed to follow through. Whatever that number is, it’s the same number of times I never made it through the course.

The reasons for falling out are fairly typical: too busy, too lazy, too whatever. I took my first class about 30 years ago and that drop out can be blamed on a fashion faux pas. No, not mine. The instructor’s. She was wearing her tights over the top of her leotard -- holy jiminy -- and I was mortified. If I took yoga would I also become such an obvious fashion “don’t”?

Recurring enrollments were mostly thwarted by the fact that I have no flexibility. Really, none. I almost flunked junior high Phys Ed because I couldn’t do a forward roll – my head just would not tuck close enough to my chest to permit the forward rolling part. Repeated and aborted attempts took me high on the spaz-o-meter.

Eventually my need to spare myself from embarrassment led to the purchase of a yoga video. In the privacy of my own home I was being led to posture refinement by the lovely Raquel Welch. Please, hold the guffaws. While the craftsmanship was flawed, the premise was a winner: seven 10-minute segments offered a manageable routine for every day of the week. And, her tights were worn properly.

I used that video off and on for many years, but two years ago it proved quite invaluable. Out of the blue, I started having back pain. So I decided to try some back stretches to loosen up. Raquel got me started and the practice seemed to be working. I added in new postures I found in books, then lo and behold, something took hold and I stuck with it.

Within a couple months, the back pain had subsided but I was hooked on my morning routine of meeting the day calmly with deep breathing and relaxing stretches. I was proud that the embarrassing toe cramps had gone by the way side and that the Downward Facing Dog no longer induced the urge to barf.

It was about six months into my practice that the miracle happened. One morning as I entered into a Forward Bend, I involuntarily bent over further than I imagined possible. A little voice said, “Further, bend further”. With minimal effort – OMG – I was actually touching my toes! I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I had no flexibility. Never before in my life (I might cry here) had I been able to reach the floor without bending my knees.

I will never be a Yogini. And I’m not preaching that Yoga is the end all, be all. What is important, though, is to embrace those opportunities/challenges/tasks put before you. Even if you have rejected something many, many times (stuff comes back to you for a reason!), you just never know what reward a little fortitude might bring.


washrag said...

namaste, sister

Pat (Pyzahn) said...

And I bow to you, too, washrag.