As a famous yoga instructor once said, “It's all about the journey.” Which journey? The one from 1 to 30 years, from 30 to 50, or the really long journey from 50 to present? I guess its all just different parts of the same journey. The one that always seems the longest and hardest is the current journey -- 50 to present.
That journey, for me, includes yoga with Angela at Fit Club. I'd never “done” yoga before. But, I had done tennis, ballet, running, working with a personal trainer, and mostly excelled at lying on the couch reading a book. I attended my first yoga class in Angela's garage with people I had never seen before on a concrete floor and a fan blowing on my face so I would not faint. The people were all very friendly. I'd never seen living persons put their bodies in presumably standard yoga poses but as I flopped around (I think it's called the dead manatee) between poses I knew this was something I really liked.
Yoga has the grace of ballet (between manatees) but also the stillness of meditation. Even if your goal is to try and at least get every other pose, it's the movement and concentration that is quite spiritual and refreshing. Even if you are standing with your legs spread like a sumo wrestler or looking through your legs at the person behind you!
You feel a sense of accomplishment when you can do your first downward dog and know that the journey is going to be long but very rewarding.
Manatee’s Mid-journey Misery
After the initial shock and thrill of completing a couple of months of yoga, one realizes that it is a journey one takes alone, except for the room full of people who are a lot skinnier, more flexible and younger than you.
Af first it feels, like, what the hell, I never did this before, of course I am awful, but then when ones begin to learn the poses and sometimes even anticipate the next move, one looks around and notices how much nicer everyone is doing exactly what you are doing. One tells oneself, of course, not to compare, but even manatees are human! It’s not that I feel jealous, though I have found myself saying, “30 years ago, I could have done that,” but if one appreciates the passage of time, 30 years ago seems like an instant. Can I really be 65 years old?
Our younger and wiser yoga instructor Angela makes it clear that no good will come from comparing oneself with anyone or even with what one could do in the past. She helps us concentrate on what is happening now in the yoga studio. Practicing mindfulness calms one down, while still allowing for the possibility of what could and will happen. I am lucky I will still be practicing with Angela when I am 70!