Yoga is an “easy” workout, right?
I’ve done yoga a few times, including super high-energy Buti Yoga (google it, it’s amazing) and for the most part, been able to get it done without looking like a complete idiot. I grew up twirling baton, dancing, and doing winterguard so I’ve always had great flexibility and balance.
But, you know, gaining 100 pounds or so changes things.
I can still touch my toes, I can still put my nose to my knees (even if my belly is squished uncomfortably between the two and my boobs are literally smothering my chin), and I’m still surprisingly flexible “for a fat chick”. But trust me when I say, I’m not doing a split anytime soon. And the biggest change I’ve noticed is my lack of cardio ability. As in, completely nonexistent. Part of the reason I want to change my body is not because I’m embarrassed at how I look (I do get those feelings sometimes, but honestly, ain’t nobody got time for that)…it’s because I have 7 and 2 year old little boys who want to run around the yard and wrestle with me and toss baseballs and footballs at my face, and I NEED to be able to do those things with them without feeling like I’m going to pass out face down in the grass.
I know that exercise has to be a component of any weight loss plan, especially when it involves improving your cardiovascular health. But y’all, I live in NC. And it’s July. Just walking outside in the 90 degree heat with 90 degree humidity is enough to make this body (and face) sweaty and out of breath. To people who say, “just start walking every night”, I just say:
So, that brings me to my birthday money. Due to some very generous family members, I get a mini-windfall (to me, that’s pretty much anything over $50 meant to spend on myself) and I get excited each year planning what I want to buy with it. This year, I spent the first $20 on a series of Yoga classes at my community center. As I’ve said, I’m not a complete Yoga novice. I’ve taken a class here and there, and took a wonderful pre-natal Yoga class during my second pregnancy that I highly recommend to any pregnant lady, especially one hoping to have a natural or VBAC birth. So I got some moves. And I am Christian in faith, but can appreciate the way that the meditation components of yoga connect me to myself and shut the other stresses of the world out for a little bit.
But yesterday’s class made me realize just how much damage I have done to my body over the past few years. I can do a downward dog, but pretty much everything else we did, especially as we got into the “flow”, I had to modify or take frequent breaks. And this was not a hard class. There were 3 of us who were young 30’s to middle age, and 3 who were closer to 50’s+ retirees. It sucks to be the biggest person, at the back of the class, unable to hold a position or even complete a flow while everyone else seemed to be doing fine. I don’t get embarrassed easily, but for a moment yesterday morning, it broke me. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, my clothes in disarray and exposing my mid-section, and the tears just came to the surface. I actually thought of just running out mid-practice, and I did step away to get some water and wipe my face.
But then I came back. And I pushed through it, and I focused on the feeling that I was doing nothing but making my body stronger, one little pose at the time. By the end of the class, when we had time to lie there and connect with our minds and push the rest away, I felt calmed. I felt victorious. And I felt like I could continue to make little steps towards finding the body I am supposed to have instead of the one I’ve created for myself through negativity.
All the cliches are true: you don’t gain the weight overnight, so you can’t lose it overnight. It takes hard work, perseverance, dedication, and celebrating little victories. Today, I will reward myself with a new shirt that makes me feel good, instead of food. And tomorrow, I will take a little more of my birthday money and buy a 15-visit pass to my local pool, and MAKE the time to get back to doing my first exercise love at least once a week: swimming.