I recently jumped in at long last and completed my first yoga class, billed as Very Gentle Yoga. Some of the moves were similar to some of the stretches I've done with my spinning class. I was pleased with my flexibility, but again (shades of cross country skiing coming back to me!) I found myself challenged by my shaky sense of balance...especially when doing the Warrior pose, which seems by all appearances to be easy enough. But my toes were flexing all over the place trying to keep me from toppling over!
Before I describe this next pose (the name of which ends with *asana, probably narrows the possible names down to a list of 4 zillion...lol) let me switch to another story about my thighs. I've probably mentioned in prior blogs the challenge of learning to be "okay" with my thighs while riding my bike.
Where's the challenge? Well, with each downstroke of the pedal, especially when riding hard, the loose skin of my thighs jiggle and flap like the jowls of a bloodhound! Not a pretty sight! Yes, yes, yes I tell myself that I've fought long and hard for those thighs and I wouldn't trade 'em in for those gigantic, immobile thighs from the days when I weighed 450 pounds, not on your LIFE!
I've made progress in accepting them and beginning to appreciate the increased tone of my thighs, the increased space in between them and most of all the smooth, firm, muscles on the front of the quads which have hauled me up over impressive mountains. And with the disguising compression of my bike tights (yet another plus for Lycra coming out of my mouth?!?) these thighs are looking pretty darned decent!
So with all that progress my unsuspecting self goes into this next yoga move in which I lie on my back and raise my feet up over my head, touching the floor just above my head with gravity pulling my thighs down above my face with zillions of puckers and wrinkles that just brought me right back to: UGH! Why can't they look better than THAT?! These aren't the same thighs I've learned to appreciate looking down sitting atop my bike saddle, are they? What a difference the top view makes!
A piece rolled into my inbox today, courtesy of Upworthy, which helped me to put this whole struggle between loose skin and self-acceptance in better perspective and also hugely humbled me before the courage shown by this young man (be forewarned, there is some, not excessive, rough language):
To love myself, just as I am and to be at peace with my body...still a work in progress...! There was a time in the not-too-distant-past in which I never could have completed ANY of these yoga poses!