Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Yoga for Beginners (and Old Bags of Bones)

I exercise a ton, if you count racing around the streets of Brooklyn more than Forest freaking Gump. I, doe one, count it. One of these days I'm going to get a pedometer and then I'm going to feel incredibly good about myself.

I do not, however, exercise in the formal sense and I'm starting to feel like I could use some, particularly the variety which provides mental health benefits. Yoga, in other words.  I want to do yoga. I want to be calm and oozing with equanimity. I also want to be hot with a rock-hard ass.

So, I turn to a yoga class, in the hopes that it was the magical variety of yoga which makes all your problems, and body fat, go away.

It was a gentle, beginner class, full of mothers who've been out of the exercise loop. And I did, in fact, witness magic. I witnessed the magic of aging. I witnessed the magical toll that having three kids will take on the human body. Here is my epiphany:

I am an old bag of bones. Brittle bones connected by cracking joints to which useless flesh that once was muscle continues to adhere.

Thanks, yoga. I feel freaking fantastic about myself now.

Every time I moved, my body made sounds. Bad sounds, like when you try to force the plastic backing off the remote and you pull too hard so it make s pop! sound and you think," Shit, I shouldn't have done that." Except the remote is my body and even the gentlest exertion appeared to make things go wrong.

I can no longer touch my toes without howling in discomfort. I can't cross my legs without hearing my knees crack like a tree limb being broken in half.  Three kids later, my muscles are functioning at approximately 3% capacity, except for my vocal cords, which have become super-sized and all-powerful.

Downward dog used to be enjoyable. Now, my head throbs and my shoulders creak and there are shooting pains in my hands. My hands!  It's probably arthritis, seeing as my body has aged 10 years since having my third baby a year ago. I was in child's pose for about 75 percent of the class, so I didn't have a heart attack, which David would find very inconvenient. I am not even exaggerating when I say that my grandmother who is 83, could have done a more peppy sun salute.

I'm going back. Obviously. I'm going to rehabilitate this sack-of-shit body, one measly hour a week. I may no longer be young but I insist on continuing to be foolishly optimistic.

That's not to say I'm giving up on yoga. I may be an old bag of bones with zero muscle tone but I retain my stubbornness.