Today, after my eye exam, I went to the closest of my neighborhood yoga studios and took a free (donations-based) yoga class! Titled "Gentle Yoga," today's class was just that. It lasted about an hour and did not involve any hard-core stretches; the teacher repeatedly told us that one of the focuses of her gentle yoga class was to get a feel for how your body reacts to different stretches, how it feels to breathe in different positions, and how to balance your body better. I had a good time, and (dare I say it?) for a minute there I actually felt like I was doing some good. And by that I mean I think I am going to be sore tomorrow.
As a girl who used to be in excellent physical shape, it's sometimes hard for me to hold back a little when I get active again. I must remind myself that I am no longer capable of the exertion and exercise that were once easily within my power, that I must work up to the point where I can be a super-duper exercise woman. Oftentimes, I am fed up with my inability to perform as well as I did at age twelve and give up. I don't want that to happen this time.
Speaking of overdoing it because I was convinced my body still held its youthful pre-teen powers.... Once I took a kickboxing class with my AmeriCorps friends in Florida. I was all over this class, pumping my fists in the air, kicking my legs high, and doing ceaseless lunges while pretending not to be winded. That night and the next day, my comrades were wiped out and sore, while I felt great.
And then came the day AFTER that. And the several days that followed that one. I was sore, sore, sore, and the soreness in my body helped trigger a lovely little spell of Migraines. I had ignored the teacher's warning to take it easy if we'd never had a kickboxing class before, that it was okay to hold back now and again rather than overdoing it. Oops.
Today in the yoga class I was tempted to stretch more than my body was willing to--I wanted to show those people that I had innate yogic ability! I could suddenly be flexible in my legs even though I have NEVER been able touch my toes. But then common sense whispered in one ear while the teacher spoke in the other: listen to your body. Be mindful of how different movements feel, and don't do certain positions if something feels wrong.
So then I chilled out and enjoyed myself more. My favorite part was the last five minutes of relaxation with a lavender-infused eye mask, though. Maybe in a few months' time I'll say that the hardcore stretches are my favorite, but for now I liked the lie-down-and-rest-while-breathing.