They say your body changes every seven years. It hasn't been quite that long since I took stock, but the first four of the last seven years were taken up with childbirth, recovery, and then supa-dupa recovery with Pilates or yoga three times a week, with the result that my bod was so fine, I hardly recognized it anyway. (I'm not bragging -- it's a fact that any butt-kickin' Pilates teacher worth his or her salt is going to whip you into shape. It works.)
Then I stopped. I could blame working almost full-time, or the lack of parking at my old studio that made getting to classes ridiculously stressful. But I think it's just my failing. I quit when I'm on top of my game. (Fodder for another post when I get the nerve.)
I lied to myself, of course. Told myself I was still fairly fit from vigorous obsessive housecleaning and the occasional walk to school. I ate pretty much what I wanted, and lord knows drank enough. Results: Predictable, and so drastic and horrifying that I'm marking this as Change Year. Sagging shoulders, thighs gone condo, a complete lack of core strength, and a belly that lays next to me when I sleep like a warm puppy, to paraphrase Anne Lammott. Oh, and I've gained about two pounds a year over the past four.
Of course, regular exercise has other benefits than toning -- reducing the risk of heart disease and breast cancer being among them. Important stuff. It time to get back into the game. Beyond time.
So, I chose a Level 1 yoga class at 8:15 a.m. this morning (heaven knows why) and managed to drag my arse to the studio on a half-cup of strong tea. Despite not being able to squeeze into my leotards and hence wearing an old t-shirt, I was probably one of the two youngest people in the class, and everyone was using props -- bolsters, blankets -- so I was feeling confident. Piece of cake!
I was a travesty. Knees and vertebrae popping and crackling like that hideous breakfast cereal. I swear other students could hear me as I labored to do the most basic twist. They sure could hear me gasping as I attempted to hold a down dog for longer than 30 seconds. I couldn't sustain my breath long enough for a decent om, let alone any regular pattern. Even more bizarre, I had lost the ability to relax on even the smallest level. I couldn't unkink my wired nerves enough to plant my feet or sit still in lotus. Sad.
Humbled, I am going back next week -- and I will try never to backslide again. Frankly, at my age I can't afford to. Because taking stock in seven years without having done regular physical activity is too scary to contemplate.