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yoga (Photo credit: GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS)

I’ve long wished that I liked yoga.  So many people seem to love yoga; it’s a great stress reliever; it builds strength and flexibility.  I really wanted to like yoga.  About once a year, I’d try a yoga DVD, usually highly recommended by someone who loves yoga.  I always end up straining my neck trying to see what’s on the screen while failing to contort my middle-aged body into anything close to the pose.

And I’d give up.

After I started seeing a chiropractor for my injured shoulder, I realized that I’m just not very flexible anymore.  And I randomly fall down the stairs in my house every year or two, so my balance is getting iffy.  I bit the bullet and signed up for a weekly yoga class at my local recreation center.

I wasn’t excited about going to the first class.  In fact, I dreaded it.  Holy cats, the class was awesome.  Incredibly hard in a muscle-shaking way, but relaxing.  And affirming.  The instructor talks through the entire class, peppering her instructions with admonitions like:

“Yoga is not a competition.  Don’t worry about nobody else’s body.”

“If you cannot touch forehead to mat today, do not worry.  You try again tomorrow.”

“Breathe through your nose.  Keep your mouth closed.  You lose energy when your mouth is open.”

That last one is my favorite.  Heaven knows, I lose a lot of energy when my mouth is open, ‘cuz I don’t know when to stop talking.

Even if I’m mentally judging and doubting myself during the class, I’m relaxed and peaceful at the end.  It’s like an hour of moving meditation.  I liked the class so much, I signed up for a second one.  Yep, two yoga classes a week.  I even bought my own yoga mat.  I’ll be touching my forehead to the mat in, well maybe not “no time,” but at some point.  Or not.  Yoga’s not a competition.