I just broke out the yoga mat for the first time in… ahem… let’s just say a long time and leave it at that. No use getting caught up in trivialities.
Why, you ask, would I resurrect such a torture device from the dusty corners of the bedroom?
Because a few days ago I decided to do a few push-ups. The granny kind, which I no longer feel bad about, because I AM a granny. I pulled off about 10.
The next morning walking was not as it should be. Something around the lower lumbars and extending well into the sacrum was, how shall we say, cemented in place. Where there is supposed to be a nice gliding as the hips sway, things were of more of a static nature. The glide was MIA. The sway was a bit C3P0.
It is no surprise to me, or really to anyone who knows me, that 10 push-ups could, without much effort on their part, handicap me. I’m not of the exercisey sort. The old bod is not of the toned sort. I get headaches from a bad relationship with my pillow, whiplash from missing a step on even ground, and a raging case of torticollis from reaching too hard for the ice cream.
Somewhere along the way, folks told me to exercise. Gym teachers, friends, well-meaning chiropractors trying to work themselves out of perfectly secure jobs, the entirety of the internet. I was raised by a yoga instructor, for crap’s sake.
As with most aspects of this game called life, attuned readers will attest that I am a slow learner.
While I’ve dabbled (and I use the term loosely) in yoga since I could walk, and done a stint or two with morning exercise regimes and martial arts classes, these are the sum total of my experience with fitness, beyond the daily walk to the mailbox and annual time spent on hiking trails and portage paths.
OK, OK, there have also been the panic-driven runs of daily kegels after horrifying trampoline experiences.
But that’s it.
So… there I was the day after the monumental workout, having a real hard time making it down to the mailbox.
Damn. All signs point to me needing a bit more flex in my physique.
As always, a few days of denial are required. I, however, evolved being that I am, utilized those few days to attempt more push-ups. Because this is the most evolved form of exercise my mush-brain could think of.
Day 2: 3 push-ups and 2 hot tears. I would like to point out that this was the day that I struggled to put one foot in front of the other. Cut me some slack.
Day 3: 2 push-ups. No tears, but a long-lived look of confusion and defeat. I have nothing to point out.
Day 4: Best to rest a day.
Day 5 (today): Yep, another 2.5. I had to stop there, lest my armpits herniate.
It occurred to me this morning that given the current state of my core…
Let’s pause for a wee touch of backstory. I’ve been fighting an enigma of a virus for a few months. Symptoms? Flu-like, and highly sporadic. The belly gurgles like an artesian well for a day or two (along with other assorted and related events that I’ll leave to the imagination), and then we’re all done. Whew. 3 days later, curled up in a ball again. I’d say there were a solid 6 weeks lingering around like that before things started spacing out a little. At the time of this writing, not gurgles for over a week!
Anyhoo, the bonus round of this particular bug rewards you with a body that perpetually thinks it should be hunching, protecting its innards. If it weren’t for the near-constant and very deliberate arching back like an inside-out cat to open up my chest, I’d look like an armadillo.
The body is a funny thing.
Back to our story…
(After the backstory. Get it? I kill me.)
It occurred to me this morning that given the current state of my core—wrapping around itself like Gollum—maybe push-ups aren’t actually the best choice. Possibly I should be working on opening things up a little more, rather than tightening them down like a vice.
Discerning readers will note that I still did push-ups today.
Kind readers will assume that I performed those 2.5 pre-armpit-herniation feats of derring-do before said brilliant and body-aware revelation.
Readers who know me will know that there is a good chance that I didn’t.
Two points for the discerning and those who I call m’friends. Kind readers, I’ve let you down; soon you’ll know better.
So about thirty seconds after today’s push-ups, I got out the yoga mat. Rediscovered some of the muscles and original equipment only God remembers I have; I’d certainly forgotten about them. Stretched gently (because sometimes I’m smart), and only had one moment when a part of me got a little over-excited and started to seize. But because of aforementioned smarts, I backed out of ‘er. I did Mom proud.
Tomorrow will be sore. I imagine getting out of bed will be another feat of derring do. But if all went according to plan, it’ll be the good kind of sore. The kind you can build on, and slowly turn into strength.
Kind of a metaphor for life.
With a growing (and kicking. And screaming.) appreciation for the glacial pace of the good life (if you need me, I’ll be bathing in Biofreeze),