In my effort to make myself calmer and kinder (and also to fit into my jeans), I figured I needed to get my exercise routine back on track. And let's be clear. It's not as if it just veered off the track a little, maybe drifting into the next lane for a second. It's more like it derailed completely, rolled down a hill, landed in a ditch and has been face down in the mud with a broken clavicle for a couple of months.
I'm a runner. For the past twelve years my exercise routine has been that and only that. I have run anywhere from 15-18 miles a week except for the four years when I was training for a 10 Miler and then it was more. I'm not a marathon athlete by any stretch. I'm not going to break any speed records, but I can handle a 5 mile run most days. I've had numerous friends tell me, "Running is soooo bad for you." or "It's terrible for your joints." or "My doctor said it's really too hard on your body." The thing is I've had no serious injuries from running and I think it's kept me sane for twelve years, so generally I listen to all that noise with this face.
Despite my face's opinion, my body does seem to have a harder time on my runs lately. So due to that fact and also because OHMYLORDTHEWINDISSOCOLD, I thought it might be time to mix it up a little. To that end, I decided to go to yoga at my gym last week. I did yoga for about six months about fifteen years ago, so I wasn't completely clueless and I assumed it would come back to me pretty easily.
You know what they say about assuming, right?
I chose a Vinyasa Flow Yoga Class off of the handy schedule I had picked up at the beginning of the month. I was super nervous so before I could talk myself out of it, I threw on a Texas tshirt and some very old yoga pants, pulled my dirty hair up in a ponytail and headed to the gym. I got there early and talked to the instructor, giving her all of my excuses and fears about it being a really long time since I had done yoga, blah, blah, blah. She was lovely and encouraging and did exactly what good yogis do by telling me that it was my own, individual "practice" and that I should do whatever poses I wanted, hang out in child pose whenever I felt the need and not push myself too hard.
People started to trickle in and I got myself situated on my mat telling myself not to look around and compare myself to anyone. This was all about me and I was starting to feel better reminding myself that I've always been a fairly athletic, coordinated person. I mean how bad could it be? I sat on my mat centering myself, thinking that maybe I would totally nail this whole thing.
Then I heard someone rolling out a mat next to me, so I thought I'd go ahead and greet my neighbor. I mean, really, it's a new year and I was sure there would be plenty of first timers joining in the class. So, I just took a quick peek and pretty much saw this.
LISTEN. IT WAS NOT INTIMIDATING AT ALL. IT WAS FINE. MY TEN YEAR OLD TEXAS LONGHORN TSHIRT WAS OLD, BUT IT WAS CLEAN. EVERYONE HAS HER OWN JOURNEY, 'KAY?
For the first thirty minutes I was hanging just fine and my memory of the poses was coming back. It was 90 degrees in there which I initially thought was great because I really needed to sweat out the December/January food hangover I'd been having. The instructor talked about awareness and keeping our minds centered on that specific moment in time.
Well, things went down hill fast. My head was spinning, my muscles were aching and my heart was beating out of my chest. My hands were so sweaty I kept thinking I was going to do a face plant during downward dog. I was trying desperately not to look at the clock because I knew that if there were more than five minutes left I might start bawling right there which would be sort of antithetical to the whole Warrior pose I was trying to fake. I tried to pull my mind back to the moment, but it kept flailing about with thoughts of how I should have written down the songs I want sung at my funeral because sweet Lord, the end was near.
At about the time I thought that my organs were beginning to shut down, I thankfully had a lucid moment when I heard the instructor urge us to listen to what our body was trying to tell us.
Well. Turns out my body had a whole lot to say to me and it wasn't very nice.
At that point, I realized that I was winning first prize in the awareness portion of the day. I was as "in the moment" as anyone could possibly be because my mind was singularly focused on remembering how to walk in a straight line and get to the car where I wasn't fully sure I was not going to recline my seat and wait for Jesus to take the wheel.
I peeled off all of my soaking wet with sweat clothes and fell into my bed. In an effort to say my last goodbyes, I sent my husband a text alerting him that if he came home that evening to find me in the bed with no clothes on, it would not be for all the exciting reasons he might hope. This was not his lucky day.
Because Jesus must still be in the business of performing miracles, I did wake up two hours later feeling like I hadn't eaten in a month. I thought about going to the grocery store. Then I changed my mind because
Due to the starvation and a will to survive for my children, I was able to get into the shower and put on real clothes. I determined that the Chick-Fil-A drive thru was really the only reasonable option because I figured I could throw in a prayer request for my ultimate healing to the gal at the window after I ordered the #6 with a large diet Coke. And also my mind's awareness had shifted from trying to simply stay with the living to this
So, I guess the moral of this little story is that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (even while wondering if we will meet Him sooner than we thought while on a yoga mat next to Beyonce), Rome wasn't built in a day (because I went back to yoga again this week and didn't start thinking of puking until at least forty-five minutes in), listen to your body (even if it uses profane language at you) and also a 6 piece meal with waffle fries saves lives.