It’s been almost 3 months since I began a yoga class. Yoga is one of those things that sneaks up on you. You feel like nothing much is going on, then BOOM! you realize how much IS going on.
I am seeing muscle definition in my arms and legs that I didn’t have before. It snuck in there at some point, and I didn’t realize it was forming until I was pulling a pair of tights. Yeah, I still have a lot of wobbly bits, but under the wobbly bits, there a lot muscle forming.
I am stronger than I was 3 months ago. Strength is one of the reasons I chose yoga. I know it builds strength. But how much strength you gain sneaks up on you. Yoga is not easy. It takes a good deal of strength to perform the various poses, let along hold them. We do one where you sit cross-legged on the floor, and place your hands on the floor, with fingers splayed, under your knees. You shift your weight forward and lift yourself up off the floor. I couldn’t lift myself up even a little bit. I can now lift myself up off the floor. I can’t lift my feet off the floor yet, but that will come. I was tickled pink when I lifted my wobbly arse up off the floor and could hold the position for a minute. Okay maybe 30 seconds. But I couldn’t do that 3 months ago.
We do planks. I could barely do a plank, let alone lower myself to the floor. Now I can do the plank and make it most of the way to floor without just plopping down. I happened to look at my forearms last week while we were holding a full plank. Egads! My forearms are full of muscle definition! I’d take a photo to show you, but I’m not up to one-armed planks just yet. I was so surprised, I almost fell down.
My flexibility has always been pretty good. But yoga is pushing my limits, and extending them. I don’t know if I will ever be able to put my leg behind my ear, but I am happy with the progress of my flexibility. I don’t have much t report here. I do have one shoulder that has limited movement due to my graceful falling off a horse many moons ago and breaking the humorous and dislocating the shoulder joint. It healed with a lot more movement than expected, but there are some things that shoulder just won’t due. The range of movement has improved a little bit. It may never be perfect, but yoga has made it better.
Balance. I have been good at balance for a long time. I have hula danced, square danced, done some gymnastics, ridden horses and a lot of other activities that require good balance. But yoga challenges all that. Standing on one foot is easy, right? Now stand on one foot, right ankle crossed over your left knee (just above the knee) with your hips pulled back (stick out your hiney). Now turn your upper body to one side. Yeah. Game changer. At first I couldn’t do that with the twist. Now I can. We do other, even tougher, balance poses. I can do some pretty well, others are a work in progress. I’ll get there.
My teacher is encouraging. He talks about where he was years ago, and where he is now. He notices, and tells us, how much we have improved. He’ll say ‘Look what you did! You couldn’t do that last month! Wow!’. He asks us how we feel we are doing. We share our progress with each other. Its fun. It helps us all realize where we were, and where we are now.
My body is changing. It’s slow and kinda sneaky, but it’s changing. I haven’t lost any weight, but I am getting so much stronger. My body feels better. My mind is sharper and clearer. I am learning to listen to my body and understand what it needs. I am learning to meditate and quiet my mind. I have more energy. I am happier.
Yup. I’m sticking to yoga.