Healthy Active+ist

Live Well. Pay it Forward.

Back to the Mat

imgresI went back to yoga last night after months and months off the mat. I’ve gone through periods where I’ve done yoga daily, in the evenings, before bed. Periods where I go regularly to classes. And months of doing none at all. Habits are funny like that. They can slip away when you’re not looking. The good ones anyway. Bad habits seem to stick like crazy glue.

My aching body told me I had to return to yoga. I’ve been working it hard these past months, playing tennis, going to the gym, and gardening like a fiend. I’m as fit as I’ve ever been but I’ve also got an aching lower back and a sore arm to show for it.

For some reason I’ve been in a mode where I’m perfectly disciplined when it comes to pushing my body but not so good about slowing down and listening to it. I don’t want to get injured and sidelined from doing the things I love. Most of my fellow middle-aged fanatical tennis players (you know who you are) get injured at one time or another and have to take months off at a time, or worse, go through surgeries and rehabilitation. I’m really, really trying to avoid that, and I think yoga can help.

I’ve taken yoga from a number of great teachers in my town. But, in this case, I knew exactly which teacher I needed to go to: Cathy Holt. In addition to being an excellent yoga instructor, she requires that you purchase a series of classes, as opposed to just dropping in. This system keeps you accountable! So now, yoga is on my calendar. Tuesdays at 5:30. And once it’s on my calendar, it’s happening.

I do love yoga. I’ve never been successful at meditating the real way sitting down, but I love a moving meditation when I walk, run or practice yoga. Since I’ve been practicing, on and off, for maybe 15 years or so, I know the moves well enough that I can hear what the instructor is telling me to do in a sort of dream state. It takes a while when you start practicing to get to that place. I found yoga very challenging at first. It takes a while to get comfortable enough that you can relax, breathe, be mindful, and really feel the benefits from it.

Class was great. My lower back groaned when I went into a forward bend and I couldn’t get my left knee down into firelogs, much less a lotus position, if my life depended on it. I wasn’t in the least bit present, or mindful. My monkey mind was jumping from tree to tree the whole time. And I can’t wait to go back next Tuesday.

Writing in this blog is another thing I love which has fallen away lately. I want to change that. My writing may be shorter, less pithy and more posty, and I apologize for that. But writing is a muscle like any other that needs to be exercised. Right now my writing muscle is groaning much like my back last week in class. But that’s ok.

I am here, now.

 

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. I love this column about yoga and habits and Cathy Holt! Your combination of insight and humor is entertaining. I would add just one other secret for back pain. It’s an incredibly well illustrated and written book called: Foundation: Redefining Your Core and Conquering Back Pain by Eric Goodman and Peter Park. This book has taught me so much about how to move and use my back. And I incorporate all of its simple but profound lessons on the tennis court, in yoga, in the gym, and with everyday life! The exercises and information contained in this book have saved my back and allowed me to be more physically active than I ever expected to be, approaching my 70’s! It’s a book I return to every time back pain starts creeping into my life again. I highly recommend it and have given and lent it to many friends who share my enthusiasm for it.

  2. I love this column about yoga and habits and Cathy Holt! Your combination of insight and humor is entertaining. I would add just one other secret for back pain. It’s an incredibly well illustrated and written book called: Foundation: Redefining Your Core and Conquering Back Pain by Eric Goodman and Peter Park. This book has taught me so much about how to move and use my back. And I incorporate all of its simple but profound lessons on the tennis court, in yoga, in the gym, and with everyday life! The exercises and information contained in this book have saved my back and allowed me to be more physically active than I ever expected to be, approaching my 70’s! It’s a book I return to every time back pain starts creeping into my life again. I highly recommend it and have given and lent it to many friends who share my enthusiasm for it.

  3. What a great blog post. I loved the photo of the kitty cat.