STORIES

My Love Affair with……

Yoga.  It is my “new thing”.

I used to be an avid runner and “lifter of weights” (“weight lifter” sounds very manly).  However, I found that the older I got, the more I needed something a little less jarring on my ever aging bones and joints.

I always thought yoga looked so cool!  I would see Madonna and other celebrities coming out of their yoga classes and I wanted to be like them.  So, I took a yoga class once (it was years ago) at the gym I belong to.  I went in with high expectations, I mean why not?  I was young, healthy, decent looking I could envision myself in the poses.  I mean how hard could ↓ pose be?

Hard!

At first I felt like I really had the hang of it.  But once we got passed the beginning meditation/breathing thing (I had that mastered by the way) things got real intense, and it went really bad fast.  It just wasn’t going like I expected.  The more I worked to get into a pose, the more I looked like a beached seal!   Why do those yoga places have so many mirrors?  I had to have been in some sort of advanced class because I could get into some of the poses but then really couldn’t get back out (well, I thought I was in the poses but ahem, look below for my pic, yes, the seal ↓ ).  I nearly took out some of my yoga classmates (is that what they are called? or is it other yogi’s?) with some of my poses (they were not pretty).  Like really, a foot almost went into someone’s face.  They weren’t impressed with my yoga.

It’s not easy to be aware that your encroaching in someone else’s space when you are twisted like a pretzel.

After all that, I figured that maybe yoga wasn’t for me.

So instead, I started running and doing the “lifting of the weights” thing.  And that went well, until I turned 45, then all hell broke loose.  It’s like my body formed a total revolt.  My joints were screaming at me and I would be so tired at the end of the day, I could barely climb the stairs.  My body was trying to tell me something.

I was forced to look at other types of exercise, and outside of swimming (I would drown, I am a horrible swimmer) and biking (I do like to bike but hard in a blizzard and no, I don’t like riding a stationary bike, BORING).  There didn’t seem like a lot of options and since I had sworn off yoga from my first failed attempt, I was in a conundrum.  So what did I do?  Nothing!  A confused mind does?-yep, nothing, no exercise at all!

I happened upon a magazine about relaxation and exercise and how they are so good for us (duh) and of course, yoga was in there.  The article swore by yoga and its health benefits, so I decided to give it another try (but I definitely was NOT going back to the gym!).

Instead, I found Adriene!  She comes to my house whenever I decide to do a little yoga and it’s absolutely awesome to set my own schedule!  She is patient and encouraging, in fact there are times she says to take a rest through a pose if I need to.  I mean, how amazing is that?  Occasionally she brings along her dog Benji, but he is well behaved.  I know, you are worried about the cost of this type of personal yoga instructing, who wouldn’t be?  But this is the best part, she’s free….on YOUTUBE!

So, it has become my NEW normal routine to get up and meet Adriene in my office before breakfast.  I won’t lie, there are days I think of skipping out but I make myself do a session, and I always feel so good when I am done.  The best part is, I am in the comfort of my own home.  I don’t have to worry about shoving a wayward foot into some poor unsuspecting persons face during a pose.  The best part is that I can choose how short or how long the yoga session is.  I also get to choose which area I need to work on (back, neck, legs, etc).  And most important, I get to choose the complexity of the yoga session!

So why yoga?

  • Yoga connects the mind, body and soul
  • Yoga combines body postures, breathing and meditation
  • Yoga improves your immune system
  • Yoga increases self-confidence
  • Yoga improves concentration and motivation
  • Yoga eases digestion
  • Yoga relieves anxiety, depression and stress
  • Yoga improves your mood
  • Yoga leads to a more positive outlook on life
  • Yoga aids weight loss by improving metabolism
  • Yoga reduces cellulite through muscle stretching
  • Yoga helps you sleep better
  • Yoga improves posture

I have more reasons, there are a ton of benefits but I figured if you have ADD (like me) you gave up about halfway through that list anyway (by the way yoga helps with ADD).

Americans spend $5.7 billion a year on yoga classes and Yoga products.  But you don’t have to.  Pull on your comfy sweats, pull your hair up and find a spot on a rug or mat and invite Adriene into your home for your individual yoga class when YOU decide to.

You will love yoga.  You will love Adriene.  I do!

By the way, there are so many free videos, if you don’t like Adriene (I don’t know how you wouldn’t, she’s lovely) you will find someone on YouTube that you do.

Happy Yoga-ing!

 

STORIES

The Ya Ya Sisterhood

One of my favorite movies of all time is the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood!

I love everything about it!  The cast is amazing and the story compelling.

Essentially, it is about the unbreakable bond between a group of friends, whom call themselves the Ya Ya Sisterhood, that spans decades.  This bond and these friendships carry these women through some fun and challenging times.  This story further details the complicated relationships between mothers and their children and the powerful connection that women create with each other over time.  As the movie progresses, we learn about broken hearts, family troubles, public humiliations, nervous breakdowns, and alcoholism. Despite the sometimes silly antics of the Ya Ya’s, the overall feel of this movie is despair over what happens to someone too weak to deal with life’s problems.

The greater story is about the relationship between mother, Vivi and daughter, Sidda.  Both women are locked in a continuing mother-daughter struggle.  Sidda is a successful playwright who makes the mistake of telling Time magazine about her troubled childhood with alcoholic and abusive Vivi. When Vivi reads the Time article, she flies into a rage.   All of this ultimately leads to angry communication between the two women and they end on non-speaking terms.  Enter the “Ya-Ya Sisterhood”, who decide that the best way to mend the relationship is to help Sidda better understand and empathize with Vivi.

As the movie progresses you are carried though the highs and lows with these woman.

The humor is contagious and the sadness deep.

Part of what Sidda learns is that she and her mother are part of a multi-generational pattern of dysfunctional communication. In their family system, mothers and daughters battle for power, husbands and wives exist in passionless marriages, and alcoholism and abuse are symptoms of unexpressed  frustration and depression.  On a positive note, as Sidda realizes the hardships and heartaches her mother experienced, she is able to forgive her, and Vivi, on her end, accepts responsibility for her failings. The movie succeeds in pulling all the bad and good factors together and gives us a fairly peaceful ending of love and forgiveness.

I understand this movie on a very deep level.  I have always felt that I was Sidda in this movie and of course, Vivi my mother.   Our stories, though not exact, are uncannily similar.  Our relationship was at times, every bit as dramatic as the one depicted in this movie.  And at at other times, we could find the same peace that Sidda and Vivi found.

 Regardless of our struggle, there are things I miss about my mother.  I miss her voice.  I miss her creative ideas.  I miss the fact that my children don’t have their grandmother.   I even miss the things that annoyed me about her.  I wish life would’ve been more simple and easier growing up but then, I would not be who I am today and for that, I am grateful.

“It’s life. You don’t figure it out. You just climb up on the beast and ride.”  ~Rebecca Wells, author of Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.

The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood is a powerful story that will make you laugh and cry.  I hope you enjoy!