This morning I had a dramatic thought when I opened my eyes at five o’clock. I will start a new exercise regimen. I will do yoga every day, I said to myself peppily. Doing yoga before dawn would be the equivalent of imbibing a mystical drug that reveals the meaning of life. And I loved the image of myself as a graceful aging woman who does Sun Salutations.
Alas, I am not delusional. I will never be that stretchy woman. I might lift an occasional hefty book over my head, but I have no time for yoga. As I drank coffee and read my book, I forgot about doing the Downward Dog.
Aging is a long wrangle with flexibility, strength, expensive facial creams, and cardiovascular exercise. And you learn that you grow older even if you stretch, lift weights, cut carbs, constantly moisturize, run, bicycle, and go to the gym.
Not surprisingly, my favorite exercise is going to the bookstore. I recently walked there, going the long way, climbing up and down hills. I wasn’t out of breath, but I was surprisingly tired. Once there, I sank into a chair exhausted. The real reason I read the first few chapters of the new novel by Elif Sharak was that I was too tired to go home.
The next day, my hamstrings were ridiculously tight.
This would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. Strange to say, I was a frenetic exerciser for years. My hamstrings were never tight, they were loose. Walking, Dancercise, exercise classes—I was so healthy that my resting pulse was 42. Once when I was sick, my husband had to explain to a doctor my low pulse was not from incipient heart failure, it was from cardiovascular exercise. I was so proud of that low pulse–and now I know it was mostly about being young.
And so I need to do yoga, I told myself. I have to be able to do hills.
Tomorrow, I start.
8 thoughts on “Yoga Before Dawn & Other Delusions”
Try Pilates, I’ve found it much more beneficial than yoga.
Thanks! I’ll try it.
These issues are things I never thought about when I was younger. But age creeps up on you unannounced. How did I get to be the person who struggles to open jars I wonder …..
The other day I got the lid off a peanut butter jar cut myself while trying to peel the paper underneath off. So that’s a first!
I went to yoga classes for several weeks. Before going I had to buy expensive equipment, then it took me 30 minutes and back, and what did I find: well yes they were good exercises, stretching mostly, much of which I had a hard time doing “correctly.” I’m old, 72, and never stretched quite this way. But I found the whole notion this was comforting, or an escape to meditation just silly. The rituals and sayings were silly. I couldn’t pretend and whatever calm I achieved while there was dissipated from going back, and I needed calm mostly because of the trip there.
I prefer the stretching without the meditation. It’s not easy to find the right yoga class.
We are cut from the same cloth. I’ve always considered myself sort of athletic (ex-runner, ex-equestrian, ex-etc., maybe that’s the problem: too many ex-activities), but, somehow, I find I don’t have the strength to dig a hole to plant a flower. I was squatting on a slight incline in the garden the other day and, as my legs trembled from crouching, I tipped over backward! Like a turtle on its shell. How did I get to be this decrepit, pathetic 67-year-old?
It’s a challenge. (And what a poignant anecdote!) . The other day I had a first: I crouched on the floor to get something off a shelf and had trouble getting up. I’m glad no one was there to see me. But perhaps that’s not the right attitude!