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Day 18 – Halfway There Day Plus 3.  Despite all my complaining yesterday, I did enjoy last night’s class.  I was not imagining things when I said that my practice is becoming more fluid because I noticed it again last night.  No aches and pains so far, just a nagging sinus thing, but that’s what happens when you have a 30-degree difference in temperature in a 24-hour period every other day.  Gotta love south Louisiana weather (if that’s what you want to call it).  I suspect I’ll live.

I was remembering my very first yoga class.  I had no clue.  Warrior?  What or who are we fighting?  Did I wander into a kickboxing class?  Because there are so many down-dog jokes, I knew a little about that pose, but had no idea all the minute details it takes to properly get into the pose and just how much thought would go into bending over while standing on my hands and feet trying to emulate a submissive canine.  Savasana?  You mean we just lie here doing nothing?  Little did I know how hard it is to actually relax … completely.  Savasana is probably the most difficult pose for me.  Auras, chakras, third eyes, breathing into your feet — what?  All of this was very far removed from what was familiar — treadmills, StairMasters and weights.  Now, I am very, very far from even imagining myself as being any kind of authority on yoga, but I’ve learned a hell of a lot since last year and am such a better person for it all.

Physically, I feel better when I’m practicing on a consistent basis.  This is so apparent that it amazes me how much I justify not going to class.  These justifications are often very thin.  I’ve had a busy day at work.  I just want to sit on my couch (see yesterday’s post.)  I left work a little late and there’s just absolutely no way I’m going to make it in time.  All my yoga pants are in the dirty clothes.  I got a paper cut on my finger … yesterday.  I excel in justifying excuses because I convince myself they’re true and valid.  Another physical benefit is that I don’t feel 42.  Last night I did back bends, splits and stood on my hands like when I was 10.  My skin feels brighter.  My posture is better.  I’m not gasping for breath after climbing a few flights of stairs.  As a result, I have a stronger desire to eat healthier.  Before you get the wrong idea, I still will pick clean the bones from a 2-piece-spicy-dark-with-mashed-potatoes-and-gravy-and-a-biscuit from Popeye’s and order the most decadent dessert on the menu.  I haven’t completely lost my mind.   My Love is a pescatarian (just fish, no meat) and cooks mainly vegetarian meals.  I am not the chef of the family and, thankfully, not a finicky eater, so I eat many more vegetables than I would if I were the boss of the kitchen.  I enjoy his cooking, primarily because his dishes are always delectable and, surprisingly, healthy.  If it were left to me to provide our sustenance, I fear we would both be obese, in danger of heart failure, and be regulars at every restaurant in the Greater New Orleans Area (because of this, we would also be poor as church mice.)  One of the many reasons I am grateful for My Love.  He keeps us well fed, healthy, and out of the poor house.

I don’t know if I can contribute all of my personal growth to yoga — I do pay a therapist for some of it and would like to think my money is being well spent — but it does, with practice, teach you how to be still and mindful.  While holding a tough pose, just breathing, you are forced to let go of everything else swirling around in your head and only concentrate on what’s going on with you at that very moment.  Most of the time, I’m thinking, “Oh my god, my thighs are burning, but I’m breathing through it!” or “I’m twisted up like a pretzel but I need to breathe two more breaths,” and not “I’ve got to clean out my desk at home because I’m not getting one more sliver of paper in any one of those drawers,” or “How are we ever going to save up enough money to spend two weeks in Paris?”  Being in the moment.  It’s more difficult than it sounds, but it’s much more satisfying and life is increasingly vibrant when you’re not worrying about the past past or the imagined future.

Well, that’s my homage to yoga.  I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’m looking forward to tonight’s class because it sure would be a nice Friday to go home, have a glass of wine, go to dinner, maybe a movie, maybe some live music somewhere and not worry about getting up tomorrow morning to make the 9:30 class without a hangover or lack of sleep.  HOWEVER, I am paying the price so I can appreciate the value.  18 down, 12 to go.