Monday, August 27, 2007

The Pain of Change

I'm getting old. I can tell because every morning when I wake up, I'm stiff. I ache. I'm sore, and not because I overdid it the day before. (hey, that rhymes, Dad!) I used to be such an exercise and fitness guru. I actually set the record in my high school for highest number of consecutive crunches in 1990, and that was for girls and boys, I'll have you know. I spent my weekends with Jane Fonda, going for the burn. I've led a cyber walking club, and been a Yoga instructor, and up until two years ago, I felt pretty darn confident even in a bikini. Baby #4, or marriage #2, or big kids #1-5, or maybe it's just Hershey, Ben, and Jerry, have thrown me for a loop and I'm in a rut that I need to get out of. My sister-in-law blogged about her determination and success at starting an exercise routine. She was the final kick in the butt for me, and so this morning I figured would be MY DAY.

The baby usually wakes up at 6am to nurse, but will go back to sleep for an hour or so. I decided this was the perfect uninterrupted time. Sure enough, he was up at 5:54, and was back to sleep at 6:09. I seriously contemplated scrapping the goal for today and going back to bed, but I've learned from past experience that if you screw up Monday, the whole week pretty much goes downhill from there. I changed my clothes and stumbled downstairs into the quiet darkness. I got out my Power Yoga video tape, by Beryl Bender Birch, yogi extraordinaire, and author of the book by the same name. I used to teach this class, so I know how strenuous it is, but I also believe wholeheartedly in the healing nature and fitness benefits of yoga. Laugh if you want, but power yoga, or ashtanga yoga, will kick your butt. When I was teaching, my favorite moments were when strapping, buff men would come to my class to secretly mock us, hoping to knock out an easy class while watching women in unitards bend and flex through the series of poses. No man ever came back for a second class. Very few men ever made it through even one class. What a thrill to humble their sculpted glutes and too-tight hamstrings. (Even though that's not what yoga is about.)

Well, folks, it turns out that I'm only a mere shadow of my former self, as my father would say. I made it through both series of Sun Salutations, and a few forward-bending leg stretches, and had to throw up. 14 minutes and I was a gonner. I have a long way to go to get back into shape. I have tightness in my hips and shoulders and back that never existed before. The poses in yoga reveal so much to the one who wants to know, and I have a lot of work to do. So, I crashed on the couch, nauseated and weak, and fell asleep for 45 minutes till the boys came downstairs.

I could feel defeated and pathetic, but I feel on top of the world! I actually did it. I got out of bed and started the change I need to make in my life towards better health. And so it was painful, and so tomorrow I probably won't be able to move my arms, and so I'm out of shape and exhausted, but tomorrow has to be better! The first day of any change is the worst, but it brings with it a sense of euphoria and hopefulness that acts as a catalyst for tomorrow. God willing.


Sarah said...

It's a start, I figure! I mean, technically, I attempted it a week ago this past Saturday and I think I got through maybe 15 or so minutes before I decided Einstein Bagels sounded good for breakfast!

I had to laugh at the part about the men. It's so true! Back probably about a year ago, when I was doing a pretty good job working out daily, I would tell Josiah about it and explain some of the moves and how I really felt that even though it wasn't super intense or really high impact, it seemed to be making a difference. I sensed that he was in silent disbelief but happy that I was happy...til the day he actually came in all dressed and ready to workout with me. It was hard not to chuckle at him. He lasted only a few minutes and hasn't attempted again.

Annette Lyon said...

You've inspired me. I used to exercise faithfully, but I've used the demise of our treadmill as an excuse not too. I'm so stiff lately that yoga might be a very good thing for me. Keep us updated on your progress. (I need the motivation . . .) :)

Unknown said...

You inspire me . . . I've been walking with a friend, but its been hit and miss. Same with my husband. Out come the yoga tapes.

Saint Holiday said...

Hey, Jenna!

Would you mind doing a little vicarious work for the dad? A few extra stretches and some of that aerobic exertion for me? I get sore just thinking about exercise. As always, you have earned my admiration. I love you.

Anonymous said...

You can't jump into yoga girlie. You have to ease back into it! Be where you are not where you want to go.

Josi said...

Way to go, that first day is definately the hardest, but you've been a hard body before and it will make it easier to find. I've never done the BBB yoga--I'm afraid

BTW--I mentioned your blog on my blog today.

Ritsumei said...

I have that book! I didn't know there was a video... maybe there's hope for me after all. Gonna have to look for it.