Almost everything one reads says the yoga is good for you, and especially those of us in our dotage, great for the bones, for menopause and for the mind. The mind. What? Oh. A number of years ago I had an assistant who was at the time more committed to her yoga than she was to marketing my business. This, however, did pay off in the long run. Since she provided me with a private lesson each time she came over, she got me started. And then she gave me some DVDs by Shiva Rea. Fans of Shiva Rea will tell you that her free flowing style of yoga is energizing, fun and inspiring. I agree. Depending on your level of enthusiasm, you can spend up to an hour pounding the floor to the drumbeat or simply lying on the floor imagining you’re on a Universal surfboard. It’s all there. I have all the tapes. I practiced for a while, dropped it (as we are wont to do). After a severe injury at 62, I sought out the tapes when my sports chiro announced to me that my aborted attempt to learn inline skating (a setup for comedy if there ever was one) was going to leave me struggling with arthritis of the hips for the rest of my life. Re-enter Shiva Rea.
Three weeks later, my doc asked me what the hell I was doing, as now I was more limber and had more rotation in the hips than before the accident. Out of all the tapes I chose one forty-minute segment that blasts everything from arms to belly. It took me a long time to master it. That’s because we’re all intelligent in different ways. For example, I’ve got a decently-high IQ, as measured by a standard test. However, trying to teach me complex dance steps is a good way to drive an Arthur Murray instructor to drink. You watch Odell Beckham (New York Giants) leap into the air and snatch a football like magic, that’s physical intelligence. It’s not likely he could also deliver the kinds of speeches I do in front of five thousand people. Different intelligence. Vive la difference.
I finally, finally mastered this one challenging yoga program to the point where not only do I not need to see the tape, but now I have added weights to my arms and legs. This has several side effects. Those of you who understand the fundamentals of physics, bear with me here. It’s one thing to do prayer poses with about 3 1/2 lbs of weight on each wrist and ankle. It’s another to go flying round the room, doing kicks, squats, slinging one’s hands overhead, pushups and all manner of psuedo-dance movements at warp speed wearing said weight on said extremities. The farther out the weight from the fulcrum (in this case, my body), the heavier the damn thing is. I do this six days a week, early in the morning. Back when I began, my neighbors were convinced that the Rapture has missed them entirely and started solely in my house. My lesbian next door neighbors called the fire department about the burning smell (it was the Lycra on my upper thighs). They also suspected that I was entertaining male company of the questionable sort given the verbal exclamations, which I had to assure them repeatedly were NOT from pleasure.
Now that I have integrated kickboxing into my routine, the kicks have gotten more athletic, I have nearly sent myself careening off the second story deck when too much momentum held too far to the left combined with too much enthusiasm threatened to prove my neighbors right about the Rapture. And I have added neon running pants to my workouts. I’ve burnt all the others. But it’s good for my bones. And for my mind. What?