The weather turned warm, so we decided to go to one of our favorite places for Fish Taco Tuesday. It is a popular place, with outdoor seating, and when we got there, it was packed, and we had to wait. We were next in line, and I wanted a sunny table right by the water, and said so, to no one in particular. Next thing I know, a couple got up from the very table I coveted, and we were escorted to it.
I spent a lot of years pushing my body to the limits, and if I had known yoga, I think I would be in much better shape now. For around 20 years I was birthing and breastfeeding babies. (7 of them!) I ate as healthily as I knew to, and my exercise, besides giving birth, was toting babies and walking with the kids around the neighborhood.
Then in my mid forties, I took up running and participated in quite a few 5k’s and 10k’s and completed three half marathons. Oh, how yoga would have benefited me then! I never really learned how to stretch properly, and now my body is much less flexible than I would like it to be. I am glad I did all the running I did, but I think that I could have done better with proper stretching or yoga. This picture is me doing my last half in December of 2011, when I was 55. That was the only time in my life I had a personal trainer, and set a goal to complete it in less than 3 hours. I made it with 3 minutes to spare! I would have done much better if I hadn’t started having severe pain in my left leg and knee. I was determined to finish, though, and limped my way proudly across the finish line.
I had an inflamed iliotibial band, the ligament that runs down the outside of the leg from the hip to the shin. Using a foam roller helped me heal from that, and I am convinced that had I been stretching well, or practicing yoga, I might have minimized that issue. Since then, I have participated in a handful of 5k’s, only to have a setback about a year ago with severe back pain that was likely a slipped disc. I have recovered from that, but have residual right hip pain. I’ve made a few attempts to start training again, but haven’t been able to get the mindset to do it.
I first met yoga at a class at the gym I used to belong to, about 3 years ago, and fell in love immediately. I had a great teacher, who said that it is ok that I can’t sit in lotus, or even cross-legged. I am more comfortable sitting in a slight variation of seiza. It is important to find a position of comfort in sitting, and this was a breakthrough for me! Also, sometimes, at the end of the class when we were lying in savasana, I would feel a release of emotions, either laughter or tears. I knew that I loved the gentle yet strong movements that our teacher took us through, and I always felt better after class no matter how I felt before.
Over the last year, as I have sought healing and fitness, I keep coming back to yoga. I have thought about trying to take up running again, but it never works out. I have done some weightlifting and even bought some workout videos, but my body always is happiest with the gentle yoga asanas.
Yoga is much more than exercise, although with time it molds and firms the body. More importantly, yoga clears the obstructions and limitations in our bodies and minds, and increases creative life energy. This is why I feel so peaceful and happy after an hour-long class, even if I have experienced discomfort, been disappointed at my lack of flexibility, and cried at the end. Note: it is important to accept your limitations and not compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone’s body and flexibility are inherently different.
I found a yoga studio just down the street from me, with a wonderful teacher who lives and breathes peaceful yoga energy. I went to my class last night feeling very tired and stressed from the day, just wanting to sleep. But as I moved through the poses, I felt the release of all the tension and exhaustion of the day.
And I had a very good night’s sleep.
Do you have a yoga practice? What do you love about yoga?
I opened the windows last night because the air inside felt stagnant. After all the rain we’ve had, it warmed enough to be comfortable. This morning there is fog, and some kind of floating plant matter in the lake. I can hear the birds, but don’t see them. Feeling the cool air, wrapped in my fuzzy blanket – it’s almost like having a patio! The air inside is fresh again.
I had joined a group on meetup and was going to go running with them this morning. If I hadn’t changed my mind last night, I’d be there right now. But I had the realization that those days are over. I don’t want to injure my body again. I pushed it to its limits and last year it protested with a back injury, and with gentle yoga and moderate walking I am finally pain free. Why would I put myself in the position of reinjuring myself, my body seemed to ask me? So here I sit, my body softer, but happier, enjoying the morning. I’ll do my yoga in a bit.
I was determined to finish A Woman’s Book of Life, and I did, last night. This book is amazing, as it traces a woman’s life from birth to death. I needed to read it at this time in my life. As a result of this read, I am more okay with my life as it has been, and more accepting of my own aging. At 58, I am considered “elderly” by the younger generation, and I am going to embrace the uncertainty of what that might mean. I am studying new things, learning to trust my intuition in new ways, and, on the physical plane, trying to let my crazy graying hair be what it is, which in a way is more challenging than anything else!
I listened to the first part of the first lecture of my new class with New World Ayurveda. The main thing I learned is that ayurveda is consciousness based healing. This is so exciting to me. As I’ve mentioned, I am a nurse working in a hospital and it is a revolving door for so many with chronic illness. Traditional western medicine only looks at the body, then divides the body into parts. Thus we have all the specialty areas, and doctors focusing down to just one organ, and prescribing a pill which will only manage symptoms. I am excited to be learning to look at the person as more than just a body.
Last night, we watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The first one, not the current one in theaters. Excellent, fun, movie! I wonder if part 2 is as good.
Today, I will spend some time with my sweetheart, Robert. It’s a beautiful day, so perhaps we’ll go to the park and sit in the sun. I want to paint a bit, read, and see how life unfolds.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back…Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” – attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Once the commitment is made, calmness and clarity arrive. Up until that point, your mind may be full of what if’s, I can’t, this is too much, is this the wrong choice? Then, in a moment, you take the step, you say you will, you pay your money. There’s a flurry of activity, excitement, a bit of fear…but you’re in! You’re really going to do this thing! It could be going to college, or starting a new job, or buying airline or cruise tickets, or moving across the country or across the world.
In my case, the decision was to sign up with New World Ayurveda, with the goal of becoming an Ayurvedic Practitioner. I investigated, meditated, questioned, prayed. It seemed good, and a path that fit with my passion. I wrestled in my head and heart and decided to go for it. It wasn’t that it was right or wrong, it just fit. And once I decided, I felt peace. I’ve paid my money, have access online, am waiting for some books. I can start setting goals and studying today! I’m calm and excited at the same time. I’ve started looking at the material and could easily get overwhelmed, but I refuse to go there. I’m on a path, I have purpose, and all I have to do is keep walking. The uncertainty will always be there.
For about three years I have been on a journey of the soul, seeking what is next for me, in how I live my life, and how I will spend the majority of my hours. For the last year, as part of my meditation practice, I have been asking myself three questions: Who am I? What do I really, really want? What is my dharma, my purpose?
I have made conscious life changes during this time, the only constant being that I go to my job consistently. And this has been, and is, a good thing. Besides being my bread and butter, I made some very good friends. I plan to continue going to this job for at least another year, in spite of major workplace changes, unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
I am very happy to announce that I have enrolled in a course of study to become an ayurvedic practioner. I have looked into life and health coaching programs, but nothing spoke to my soul until I came across this program. I believe in looking for signs, synchronicity, clues from the universe that some might call coincidence. I “met” Melissa, whose blog is Sattvic Life, after I posted about my experience with the Hot Belly Diet. She blogs about her journey learning ayurveda and her joy in life. She has been an inspiration to me.
My entire adult life I have embraced various schools of thought regarding what is healthy, from studying medical nutrition in nursing school to growing my own food and making everything from scratch, and quite a lot in between. I realized that my passion is in promoting wellness, and what I know already about ayurveda is that its focus is on balancing that which is out of balance – mind, body, and spirit, as opposed to western medicine’s focus of focusing on only the physical and providing a pill for every ailment without addressing the root cause.
My dream is that in pursuing this course of study I will learn more about how to promote good health, using what I already know as a Registered Nurse, and integrating the new knowledge I will acquire. I want to have the abilities and credentials to establish a business in which I can help those who seek perfect health.
So here I go, continuing the journey. I am quite excited!