Category Archives: aging
Good morning! (barely)
I’m getting a really late start again today because our Internet service is super wonky again today. I’m looking at this problem as another of life’s character-building exercises. I get halfway through a post, email, or reading an article, and everything goes dead. The sun is shining. This seems to be a case of being attacked by gremlins.
It occurs to me that when you retire, many things get turned upside-down.
One big example is a change in perspective – how we feel about Mondays.
We have worked most of our lives. Mondays were something that happened with great regularity – like clockwork – and meant an end to most free time and lots of hard work for the coming week. We lived for the weekends, getting to sleep in (until we had kids) and then rushing around to get all the errands done while the stores were open that we couldn’t make time for during the week. We made a point of playing hard, wringing every ounce of fun out of our time off, only to return to yet another Monday. The week would C-R-A-W-L past (even though I liked most of my jobs a lot).
Since we retired, we have the opposite situation. We like to have all the stores open, deliveries being made, mail being delivered, banks open, etc. We stay super busy, not able to figure out how we EVER found time to work full time. Our lives are full of interesting and fun things to do. Many of these things come to a screeching halt when it’s the weekend or a holiday. We start to do something and the bank is closed, or the stores are closed, or….
I’m not REALLY complaining. I’m just trying to explain the change in perspective now that we’re as old as dirt. :0)
On Tuesday of this week I renewed my yoga practice after sloughing off for a number of months. Excuses abound, but I KNEW it had been doing me a lot of good. I felt the progress, the loosening of my muscles, the relaxation. Tuesday I finally decided that I needed to take better care of myself and that started with practicing yoga daily. My husband’s question every day now is, “Are you going to yoge?”
Since I’m a bit age-challenged (I’m 72) and basically enjoy mostly sedentary pastimes, I really have to MAKE myself exercise even though I’ve proven that I actually feel better having done it. As a former student, then teacher – I learned the motivation of the Gold Star. It STILL works for me. I can be really tired from working in the yard and I look at my desk calendar, seeing 5 stars for the week – lacking the 6th – and I go practice my yoga to be able to add the star. Stupid – Silly – but I figure whatever works….
SO – Since I ‘yoged’ Tuesday through Sunday this first week of renewed practice, it’s a 6 STAR WEEK! :0)
“It’s not about being good at something. It’s about being good to yourself.” ~ unknown
I’m basically starting over, having sloughed for such a long time, but I am already seeing a bit of progress. I can again touch my toes. I do have to bend over and really breathe into it, but
g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y lower with each long breath so that eventually my fingertips touch the mat. It takes me almost a full minute of lying on my back for muscles to stop clenching, but I am relaxing a bit more quickly each day. I am still a wonderful model for the old Rice Krispies advertisements – snap, crackling, and popping my way into each new pose, but I AM able to get into them. The worst is sitting with my legs spread out to either side and then trying to bend forward. My “Gentle Yoga” instructor, Cat Kabira, bends forward and lays her forehead on the mat. Yeah. Right. I bend forward and the insides of each leg start screaming immediately. I am taking Cat at her word, that stretching as far as you can into the pose and breathing into it will bring rewards, whether you can touch your forehead on the mat or not….
“Inhale the future, exhale the past.” – unknown
The big thing I’m noticing is that the stretching in all directions and forcing myself to relax – eventually – makes me feel better. It used to be that I would stretch and some muscle or other would cramp. That is not happening now! This is a benefit of the practice before, but I’ll take it. I still hurt when I stretch, but NO cramping! Hooray!
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” ~ unknown
I’ll have to admit that I’m interrupted in my practice more by my own laughing than anything else. My husband never fails to remark at all the popping sounds my poor old body makes. I simply look at him, then can’t hold it in any longer and start to laugh. I tell him that he can make fun when HE is there beside me trying to do it, too. That usually results in his going back to reading on the tablet. :0)
“The pose begins when you want to leave it.” ~ unknown
As we age, balance becomes a problem. We tend to start shuffling our feet a bit or walking more tentatively, rather than striding as we used to. I have found that the yoga practice results in my feeling more steady, feeling my muscles work as I walk or stand.
“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.” ~ unknown
I may always be creaky, but I’m really going to try to keep this going. I need to be as strong, flexible, and reasonably balanced as I can going forward. These ‘old lady stretches’ are really helpful – assuming that I actually continue to get down on the floor and DO them.
“Just breathe.” ~ unknown
NEXT week will be a 7 gold star week!
I can’t tell you how long it has been since I did a session of yoga. I will be generous to myself and say a couple of months, but it’s probably longer. I have given other things priority over yoga practice, even though I KNOW I need it. I have lots of excuses, but I finally decided that today was the day.
I have just finished a session, and I have to tell you that I feel better than I did.
I do “Gentle Yoga” – sometimes using a set of DVDs by this name put out by sixtyandme.com with instructor Cat Kabira. This is a group of yoga stretches and poses for people who are NOT yoga people – people who are a bit age-challenged like I am (I’m 72) who have likely have health or injury issues, or, who, like me, are generally stiff, sore, and too sedentary for their own good. I call it “Yoga for Old Broads” and I love it. The instructor is very forgiving, non-judgmental, NOT super-perky so you have the urge to squeeze her neck. She stresses to just do what you can do. If you stretch in the way she is telling you, even though you can’t fold yourself into a pretzel, you are doing good for yourself. The stretching in that direction, holding the pose and BREATHING into it will finally result in your body GIVING a bit, stretching out, relaxing.
Today I just did some of the poses on my own. I wanted to take my time, do what occurred to me to do, holding the poses as long as I could. BOY! My body was telling me that I had been neglecting it! Everything was difficult today. I really worked slowly, easing into things, breathing a lot, trying to relax. I could really tell that I need to do this every day as I was doing before other things took precedence around here. Everything I have is stiff and sore. Even lying on my back hurt for a minute or so! I snapped, crackled, and popped as I stretched each part of me out, one area at a time. I spent half an hour today and feel better now for it.
I will try to make time for this every day now. I have AGAIN learned that my health and ability to move and relax is super important – maybe now more than ever.
If you haven’t tried “Gentle Yoga” I highly recommend it.