Saturday, November 21, 2009

Downward, Dog, I mean

Hunching over my desk last Friday, I couldn't take it any more. My shoulders were burning, my neck was stiff, and my upper back felt like it was petrifying. Sure, I just turned 30, but does that mean I have to turn into a cubicle-dwelling desk troll, permanently wearing the scars of my slavish devotion to a computing machine? Surely not.

I did what any normal out-of-shape person would do in this situation: I let somebody else do the work for me, opting for a quick 15 minute chair massage. Although I felt better afterward, I realized I had just dropped $20 bucks (including the tip) for a quick fix. For that same amount of money, I could engage in two sessions' worth of something I haven't done in ages: yoga.

I'll admit: I was a scrawny, skeptical Midwestern gal when I first gave the "New Age-y" concept of yoga the old college try - literally - when I was an undergrad. And I got hooked, for years. At one point, in fact, I could do inversions and headstands with the greatest of ease.

My favorite instructor was a uber-petite Asian gal who was literally half my size. Yet I'll never forget when she caught and held me during my first back bend. Her small frame was strong and powerful and I wanted that, too. Well, except for the small frame part. That had already been sorta predetermined by genetics.

I practiced yoga for years, probably nearly a decade, and then - like so many other things that we know are good for us but fall by the wayside - I just up and stopped. The cool thing about yoga, though, is that is stays in your muscle memory for a loooong time. To this day I can flop over and touch my toes with zero effort. Cool, right?

So in keeping with my generally feeble attempts at physical self improvement, I'm going to start taking beginning yoga classes again. I must humble myself before the asanas and realize that I'm no longer the limber 20-something I once was. Nor will I ever be a "yoga champion" like Kyoko Katsura, above, who recently won the women’s division of the first New York Regional Yoga Championship.

But... This Sunday shall mark my triumphant return to the yoga studio. And the peasant's rejoice! Or - at the very least - I won't make a fool of myself. I think a hour or two on the mat each week will probably keep me out of the chair; the massage therapist's chair, that is. My careful (read: quick) cost benefit analysis confirms this. So does my back, which is already starting to ache again.


Diva of Diversity on December 3, 2009 at 5:39 PM said...

Yay! I've recently started doing yoga again as well. I feel great and I hope you do too!

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