Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gentle Yoga, (On) My Ass!

(Photo by AZRainman)

Okay, so I started a Tuesday morning yoga class. I thought, okay, I AM stiff and creaky, and my neck makes noises that are generally emitted from old leather chairs when you get up out of them. But even so, I can certainly handle a gentle yoga class.

Class started off swell. The introductory meditation session was delicious, though I did notice that simply sitting cross-legged on the floor was actually using muscles. I had never noticed that sitting required muscle use. Hmmm. "Observe your body," said my yoga teacher. So, I observed. I breathed. It all felt good.

Then, there came downward dog, when you have to brace your body above the floor with your arms, hands, and legs. You are supposed to look like a dog, happy with your butt up in the air. I don't look like anything that good with that part of me up in the air, but I was game to try. Soon, my arms ached, then they shook. Then, I was holding my breath from the sheer concentration involved and nearly fell over from lack of oxygen. How did it get so hard to prop myself up with my arms? Why does my old broken toe feel like someone is sanding it with rough gauge sandpaper -- from the inside out?

Then, I stood in tree pose on one leg. I concentrated my gaze on my "drishti", a visual point (in this case an old nail hole on the wall opposite me). Then, I DID fell over. Since when, even at 9AM without a glass of wine in sight, can I NOT stand on one leg? By that time, I was sweating, breathing deeply, and very grateful for the final meditation/relaxation exercise of the class.

This morning, the shoulders ache, there is a feeling in my lower back that was not there before, and I feel like my lungs just got injected with 15 gallons of really fresh air. I slept last night like a...tree. Except laying down.

I wonder when I'll graduate to Level One, Not Quite So Gentle Yoga. But then, I suppose I am not supposed to inject such unyoga-like goal setting into the mix. Embrace the gentle. Be here now. I wonder if Ram Dass ever fell over in tree pose in front of a room full of 60-year old women.

Here's downward dog performed by a real dog. Along with a sun salutation, I think. Then, it might be that he just has fleas.

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