After my previous anxious musings about Chronic Fatigue Immunodeficiency Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, I was hoping I’d have something cheerful to post. However, other than dragging myself off the Big Poofy Chair yesterday afternoon for a 20 minute amble around the neighborhood, there hasn’t been much going on to inspire anyone. I’ve been tired, fuzzy-headed, stiff and a little achy, unable to muster any enthusiasm for movement. Last week featured a number of meetings and a visit to my folks that led to me driving to the office, so I didn’t even have my commute exercise to keep me going.
I need a plan. I feel my Big Fat Fitness Comeback is going into reverse, and I need to put the brakes on that momentum and then turn it around. I need to find a way to energize myself without injuring myself, and do something physical where I can see quick results and feel better.
I think I need yoga.
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with yoga. Over the years I have taken some classes and, thanks to some outstanding instructors, really enjoyed almost all my experiences. Christa Rypins, in particular, was patient, humorous, challenging, and very Zen without being all Zennier-than-thou about it. (One of the things that irks me about yoga is the hippy-dippy over-earnestness of some practitioners.) I especially enjoy the way I feel after the yoga is done: all long and loose, balanced and relaxed. And exhausted, generally. I think the breathing and meditative aspects of yoga are incredibly good for you, and the stretching and strengthening is fantastic for injury prevention in other sports, including the cubicle-computer ultrathons in which so many of us overindulge.
So why don’t I do yoga all the time? Excellent question. It’s always been one of the things I planned for myself when I got to be a certain age. I believe that regular yoga practice is probably the best possible way to help your body fend off the aging process. I think there are three main reasons why I’m not a yogini:
- It feels static. Even though much yoga is a fantastic workout, you do the whole thing in two square meters worth of space and your only views are of other people’s butts or your own knees or feet. One of the things that I love about exercise is the sensation of movement through space. Even swimming laps feels more interesting to me than holding yoga poses.
- It requires emptying the mind. My mind likes being busy. Probably too much so. Even though I recognize that I really benefit from the focus on nothing but the breath and the sensations of the poses, it doesn’t attract me.
- I kind of suck at it. I know this hasn’t kept me from being a triathlete in the past, but when there are already other factors at work, the sucking just kind of piles on. I’m not naturally flexible, and my body shape makes a lot of poses difficult or impossible. There are ways around all that, modifications and so on, but yoga brings you up close and personal with your own fat in ways that can be physically and mentally uncomfortable.