The Yoga Life

So, the truth is that I have always been among those who aspired to achievement in the manly arts. I’m a guy so that’s natural. But, being sort of short and puny, I stayed away from contact sports. That is, I learned early that with the equipment I had, I was better off being fleet of foot than standing my ground to slug it out. Not that I didn’t have to do my share of that. We all have our pride after all.

So I learned and trained to be a long distance runner and developed a big chest. Some would say I also had a big head, a little too full of myself. You know, people had difficulty telling me anything because, after all, I knew it all. Just your run-of-the mill obnoxious male! So how did that work out for me? On balance, I would have to say, not so well. I will spare you my sad tales of woe. Never mind. We very often get what we deserve. Suffice it to say that I hope I have learned a few lessons in my life that have better equipped me for more positive long-run relationships.

Like some of you out there, during most of my life I have fought the battle of the bulge. I have tended to the fleshy with a generous appetite. So I always had a continuing interest in physical exercise. If it wasn’t running, or a frantic game of full contact basketball, it was workouts in the gym. I was one for slinging weights to see how far up the weight ladder I could go. Anything to turn the flab to something more resembling muscle.

Fast forward a half century or so. I am still slinging weights, but the numbers are going down rather than up. I am still in the gym, but working more on keeping muscle tone rather than building bulk. Now in my eighties, with time, my concentration has been turning more to maintaining flexibility rather than worrying about strength. And cardio has become more important to ensure I will be mobile and around long enough to satisfy my Bride’s insatiable hunger for my company. Did I mention I married my childhood sweetheart at the age of seventy-one? She’s the principal reason I’m still interested in being around. Oh yes, I have children, and grandchildren, but they are so busy living their fulfilling lives.

What has all this got to do with the price of tea in China? Well, it seems that my Bride is much more interested in yoga, than in all that cardio stuff, slinging weights and whipping muscles into shape. We have taken up residence in the West End of Vancouver. We have the good fortune of having a community centre in our back yard with all manner of activities available for the choosing. I signed up for weights and cardio. My Bride signed up for these, but more and more, she has abandoned me for the joys of something called yoga.

The fact is that I always considered that mysterious Indian stuff (and the Chinese variations,) beyond the pale. More than that, I considered it sissy stuff, not worthy of the attention of a real male. It was always women in those illustration pictures, wasn’t it? What did I know? I like my Bride’s company. When she invited me to join her in one of her classes, well, it was only minimal politeness to give it a try. Here’s a bulletin guys! This stuff is tough to do. Not only that. The kind of body mobility one can develop makes it almost a necessity for keeping mobile into our advancing years. I am at it religiously several times a week. And I try to make the moves I’ve learned on my own whenever I think of it. With yoga and cardio, I’m busy five times a week. Stuff that used to happen to my body when I was younger, aches, pains, and charley horses, no longer occur. We’re doing something right.

It’s more than that. Something seems to happen to your life when you attend these yoga sessions. It sounds crazy and I wouldn’t have believed it if you had told it to me. One does learn to relax in a way that we don’t otherwise do. It sounds like baloney, but one actually can reduce the tension in one’s life. Your blood pressure will go down, and you will leave with a brighter attitude toward life. One can carry it away with you and it lasts. Or it may be because the angel who offers the sessions I attend, a Madonna from I know not where, that offers a gift to the eyes as well as the mind. That just happens to be a plus, a bonus we guys have no right to expect. (Is my Bride reading this stuff?)

So, now I find that my Bride has gone on to other things. I am now alone with thirty or forty other addicts, learning the details of the rites of another eastern wisdom. I cannot turn my body into a pretzel like some. However, though I may still pant and puff to put on my socks when I get up in the morning, I can perform this complex task with ease after my yoga session. And so for many other physical tasks that become so much more feasible after exposure to a yoga routine. Scoff as you may, you macho guys, this one is for me. Call me a sissy if you want to, but I am hooked!

We can still meet up afterwards for a beer!

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