Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Month of Downward-facing Dog

(My first class as a Yoga-Fit Instructor: "The Writer's Workshop Warm-up". Barbara, Mary, Darlene, Peggy, and Miki. Missing from photo are Judi, Betty and Martha. That's me on upper left. The dog is Miki's guide dog, Tiger, who does an authentic downward-facing dog pose.)
This month I became a yoga instructor! Quite a departure from everything I've ever done. Back in high school I was the girl who pulled a sicky rather than go to p.e. class. The most "athletic" I ever got was aqua-robics a few times a week at the local pool but that was the eighties and nineties. Never felt the need to get all sweaty in a gym.

Then I got oldish. Funny how it sneaks up on a person. One day you're light and lithe - next day you drag your creaky carcass out of bed, realize that sometime during the night everything has shifted south and your joints have all the flexibility of a crow bar. Adding insult to injury your adorable general practitioner (the inimitable Doctor Amos Shirman) drops the triple bombshell: overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol! And the battle is on.

So a year ago I signed Mom and me up for Low-Impact Yoga at the local community center (of course telling myself it was primarily for Mom) - to my surprise I got hooked on the stuff! Bought myself a mat and a yoga dvd to guide me through some stretches at home between classes. Soon I was on the yoga mat an hour a day doing downward-facing dog, cat/cow, tree pose, warriors 1 and 2, plank, cobra, moon-flower/sun-flower, triangle, child pose etc. etc. etc. Couldn't get enough. It was fun and I felt great! Even better, Doctor Shirman stopped scowling at my numbers.

Something else was going on while I was firming up and getting my blood pressure under control - I began to notice I wasn't the only one fighting the good fight against decrepitude. The class was packed with other Boomers intent on doing themselves the favor of getting and staying healthy. After all, what's the sense in having a longer life span if you're stuck in a nursing home for the later half of it? My generation isn't willing to settle for less than full participation in life. We want to be able to climb a flight of stairs at 100 without a crash cart standing by.

So this Spring I decided I would help fellow seniors be the best they can be in this amazing time of our lives - I would teach yoga for seniors. Since then I've been going to school and doing my practice teaching at the Community Center, as well as substitute teaching in the Low-Impact class where all this started. I finally know what I want to be when I grow up! Pretty exciting isn't it? You bet! And the best part? All the wonderful people I've gotten to know on the mat. What a fabulous, enthusiastic bunch - sweet, loving, supportive of each other. Can't wait for my next downward-facing dog. Namaste!