Have you ever been around someone who quit smoking and they have made it their mission to get everyone else to join them in their endeavor? They are well intentioned, wanting everyone to feel as good as they do but they are driving you crazy! Well, I am afraid that is my attitude about yoga nowadays.
I had always heard that yoga was good for the mind, body and soul. I laughed it off as a bunch of crap and a practice that only hippies delved into to.
Disclaimer: I am the most uncoordinated person you know. I have a severe balance, for lack of better words, disorder. I AM NOT FLEXIBLE! I AM NOT GRACEFUL!
I’m limited as far as exercise goes. Water aerobics and swimming are options but you have to be able to drive to the locations. So, with my ever so handy Apple Watch strapped to my wrist, I walked and I walked. Two miles in the morning. Two miles in the evening. This brought on incredible spine pain and frustration. I had to find something else with little impact and much gentler than the pavement.
A little over two months ago, I decided to do a YouTube search for at home yoga videos. This search was brought on by something that a dear friend said to me. My friend is a lifelong yogi. She is a certified yoga instructor and massage therapist. She is a beautiful soul. Kathy has Parkinson’s Disease. I have watched as the disease has began to destroy her body and her ability to move fluidly. One day she said, “Can you imagine how bad it would be if I hadn’t practiced yoga all of these years?” Those words were and are my motivation.
I started off slow, searching for beginner Yoga videos. The result of the search was overwhelming. I chose one and went for it. I drug out an old mat that I bought years ago. Put on some comfy clothes, utilized my son’s bedroom floor as he has recently left the nest and started the video. After that first video, I was hooked. Mind you, I didn’t say that I was good at it, just hooked.
Thankfully the instructor that I started with was very good at explaining asanas or poses. I was frustrated. You never realize how inflexible you are until you try to be flexible. Let’s just say, I have come a long way. I saw progress within the first few days. I started noticing that I was sitting a little taller, moving with a little more ease and not as stiff as before. Factors that motivated me a little more.
My goal in the beginning was to get stronger and to build muscles in my core to help compensate for the “off balance” that exhausts me. Not only am I getting core strength, my body is changing.
If you have a chronic illness, yoga is something you need to try. Again, in 2004 I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease and Chiari Malformation. Both leaving me with screwed up equilibrium to the point of exhaustion on a daily basis. I can now stand in one place without swaying back and forth. Those who know me know what I am talking about. I still can’t walk a straight line to save my life but I am working on it. I’m almost able to hold a few of the “warrior” poses for a solid minute. This is a huge accomplishment seeing as I fell out of those poses after about five seconds in the beginning.
This “yoga” thing is truly life changing. From time to time, I will share insights from a rookies point of view. I found an amazing pose yesterday that helped relieve my headache. It didn’t totally disappear but the pose worked better than an Excedrin migraine pill for sure.
If you would like to get started or add to your practice, I highly recommend Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. She is who I spend most of my time on the mat with. Incredible instructor. Sweet-spirited girl out of Austin, Texas. You won’t be disappointed. If you are a reluctant yogi, like I was, she will get you hooked. Start with her Yoga For Beginners series and go from there. This morning I did Weight Loss Yoga – Total Body Workout. A month ago I wouldn’t have lasted fifteen minutes. Today, I did the whole thing.
If you are a skeptic, try it for a week. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
Keep It Wonky,
JP – (a reluctant Yogi)