A Tongue in Cheek (isn’t that a posture?) Essay
Why I Do Yoga
My relationship with yoga goes back to 2003, when I transitioned from a daily bike commute to a job where I had to drive or hop a bus 5 days a week. This was not an easy transition for my wonky back. I shelled out the shekels to join a gym and was cajoled into taking yoga by one of my fellow bus commuter who was really into the hot babe who taught Wednesday nights. I can’t blame him. I gravitated more to Peter, who taught an Ashtanga sequence, chanting out posture names in Sanskrit, and improbably incorporating a beautiful meditative atmosphere into an athletic club. I took classes for about six years, went deeply into postures, looked great in shorty shorts, and finally had to give in to the searing pain shooting down my leg and had my lower back fused. After I was melded with a surgical erector set in my lumbar spine, and adhered to my orthopedic surgeon’s instructions of no bending, lifting or twisting (not that I ever enjoyed BLTs). The only physical activity that was allowed was walking or hiking. It wasn’t so bad, that year.
I’ll be honest here. I was most excited about getting back on my bicycles. I willingly kissed off climbing, downhill skiing and running in favor of maintaining a healthy back. I picked up Pilates again. It took some experimentation to find the right yoga practice for my Frankenback. Yoga Loft has been a good testing ground, with a range of yoga styles and instructors without the club scene. My preferred mix is Jon Kolaska’s Forrest yoga class, with a sprinkling of Vinyasa and Yin.
What do I get out of yoga?
I can still touch my toes in my late 40s. That’s nice. I have reasonably good muscle tone. That’s also nice. I have a good sense of humility when I can’t make the Wheel pose, let alone getting more than a few inches up for a Bridge. I can’t quite reach my ankles on a seated forward fold. Shoulder stands may never be mine again., but it gives me something to aspire to. I’m at peace with that. I’m pretty excited on the days that I can maintain a balancing pose. I do a pretty good impression of a Tree. My Crow stands on its head. I laugh at myself more than I used to. I’m not going to execute a miraculous transition from gimp to yogini to yoga instructor.
I am not a yogic phoenix. I may be more of a yogic magpie. But I have a good time…