Monday, December 6, 2010

Terribly 40

I'm not sure why it took an acro-yoga workshop  (3 hours of vaulting into inversions) to clarify that I am no longer who I once was.

When I was 34, I did three ashtanga primary series practices a week and, usually, a vinyasa class in addition to that.  I also walked at least an hour a day with my dog.  I was leaner, stronger, fitter AND I slept a solid 8 hours per night. 

I am now not 34.  I do 30 minutes of self-practice (vinyasa, or iyengar . . . but rarely ashtanga) five days a week.  I walk about half an hour a day (admittedly with a double stroller full of heavy children and a hound dog pulling laterally away from us).  I am baggy in the middle, but relatively healthy.  I have strong arms and a lot of shoulder tightness.  I never get enough sleep.

An acro-yoga workshop at age 34 would have been just the thing. 

At 40, I could do it, for the most part, but it was scary hard to be upside down with my head balanced on someone else who was also upside down.  It was flat-out terrifying to be the "base" on which someone else balanced and to feel myself less strong than the situation called for.  And I am now lamed by stiffness.

For months, I have been lamenting my inability to conjure a mid-life identity for myself (post-reproduction, post-tenure, and it feels like post-attractiveness as well).  How cliche.

Surprisingly, however, I feel good about not being as "into" the extreme yoga scene as I was.  I don't actually want to have dreads, smell of sandalwood and wear a bindi.  I am OK with having chosen to take daily small bits of exercise which work for health but not for show, in exchange for more time with the kids.  (It'd be nice to feel I was more patient when I am with the kids though--I yelled at Clara again this morning after she spent several minutes thudding into me while screeching " GOO GOO GAH GAH").

Shockingly, the baggy midriff, and legs that quiver after too many breaths in virabadrasana 1 don't bother me nearly as much as they would have when I was 34.

These are small beginnings to the end of my mid-life crisis.  I have identitified one thing I'm willing to let go of: my yoga vanity. 

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