One of my minimalist 2017 resolutions (grand total of three, all health related) is to become a yogi. Even as I committed that to paper, I realized that I had no idea what it meant. Truth be told, I intend to define it for myself as I go. To start, for now, it will mean one who does yoga religiously, that is everyday, or nearly so.
Doing yoga has been on my list for several years. Each of the last two years I have embarked on a home yoga program in January only to lose focus, motivation, and my yoga practice within days or weeks. So goes most New Year’s resolutions, we are told. I vow that this year will be different. I have, at times debilitating, foot pain that has been chronic for the past two to three years. This timing coincides with a period of little to non-existent exercise, and the launch of my long-arm quilting business. My business continues, but the no exercise has left me stiff and that stiffness, I am convinced, exacerbates my foot condition and pain. It is a serious question of mobility that I believe I can address, in a substantial way, with a consistent yoga practice.
I find the fit human body gloriously beautiful. My five children were/are swimmers; my three daughters all swam in (or through) college. One of these daughters attended University of Georgia on a full ride swimming scholarship and competed for a spot on the US Olympic Swim Team three times. Swimmers’ bodies are gloriously beautiful. One of my sons competed at a high level in high school cross-country; runners’ bodies are gloriously beautiful. My third daughter is currently residing in Guatemala, living off the grid in a work trade program at a yoga farm called Mystical Yoga. This daughter has been devoted to yoga for a while, and will spontaneously go into Tree Pose (in perfect balance without holding on to anything!) while she stands chatting with you. Yogis’ bodies are gloriously beautiful, and strong!
We are told, as aging women, that weight training is very important to maintain health and avoid osteoporosis. I hate weight training and know I would not maintain a weight-training regimen; I know it. I think there is another way. Just watch a long-time yogi and be amazed at her strength! I have no doubt that strength and grace can be achieved through the consistent practice of yoga.
Where to start? My delightful third daughter, of tree pose fame, always tells me, usually gently, “Mom, you start right where you are.” Of course, that is true; there is no other way. Last week, I watched an incredibly motivational video of Arthur, who went from disabled and obese to yogi. Watch it with a tissue in hand, if you are like me and easily moved by such things. Keeping in mind Arthur’s words that just because I can’t do it today doesn’t mean I won’t be able to do it someday, and feeling old and stiff, I began Adriene’s Yoga Revolution, a 31 day program that gets delivered to my email inbox every day. My entire body is sore, but not so sore to stop me from showing up on my yoga mat the next day.
Yoga is a blessing that is there for us to embrace. Even with just a few days under my belt, I notice that I move differently throughout the day. I sit up straighter while driving; I straighten my spine when leaning over the kitchen counter; I spontaneously stretch my arms overhead; and dare I say it, I think my foot pain is somewhat diminished. It is already so, so good. Yoga is right, and true, and feeds my soul as I say yes to it on this day, and I pray on all the coming days of this adventure.