Friday, August 20, 2010

The Things You Don’t Say Out Loud

On Monday, June 21, after my pilates class, I walked out of the gym and didn’t cross the threshold again until Monday, August 16. That’s exactly eight weeks of no pilates. 56 days with no yoga—hot or cold. 1,344 hours without sweating on the elliptical or occasional quiet curses when I looked at the remaining time. 80,640 minutes for my triceps muscles to loosen and begin to flap. 4,838,400 seconds for my oh-so-close-to-a-four-pack-abs to regress into a pony keg.

When I started writing this I was feeling a bit guilty; just a bit, because I did have an excuse. I spent ten days in Ecuador. I’ve been busy helping with wedding plans. I’ve been making all kinds of travel arrangements for another trip to Ecuador as well as a trip to the Amazon. Those things took time…..lots and lots of time. But now, seeing those words staring me in the face, that blatant admission that I turned my back on all exercise for the past eight weeks, just increased my level of guilt exponentially. I now feel I must crawl on my jelly belly to the Great Goddess of Fitness. I must beg forgiveness and swear on my yoga mat I will push, pull, twist and contort my muscles until the pain wipes the guilt from my mind and I once again become one with sweat and trembling muscles.

There are no excuses. I should have been working out. But it’s a good thing I didn’t write that first paragraph before I went back to pilates on Monday, sweat on the elliptical on Tuesday, and suffered through 75 minutes of hot yoga on Wednesday….after eight weeks of doing N • O • T • H • I • N • G. If I would have written that first paragraph on Monday I would have felt so deflated, ashamed and dejected that I wouldn’t have been able to uncurl myself from the fetal position long enough to pull on my wrinkly lime green shorts and frayed t-shirt, let alone get in the car and drive to the gym.

But I hadn’t written it and I did go. Pilates was hard but I survived. The elliptical is never fun and I always wonder what the hell I’m doing on it but I got through it, even though “Say Yes to the Dress” had been replaced by “Cake Boss”.  Hot yoga, though— it nearly killed me. I don’t think any of my fellow yogis—the ten young, blond, tan, sinewy women in their color coordinated outfits—would have been surprised if I’d toppled over and died during standing tree. I’m sure they thought I already had one foot in the grave although I must be honest. I did not hear them say that out loud. Or maybe they just couldn’t tear their eyes away from their reflection in the mirrors long enough to realize I was even sitting there.

During one of the first hot yoga classes I ever attended, a couple of women were whispering to each other during one of the poses. Shortly after, Nikki (our instructor) told us in her soft, meditative-like yoga voice that it was important for us to “respect the silence of those around us.” After I heard that, I was pretty sure any comments I might want to express during class should be spoken silently in my head.

Here’s what I wanted to, but did not say out loud, during my first hot yoga class in eight weeks:

Nikki: Take a moment to find your intention.
   Me: My intention is to survive. Just let me survive.

Nikki: Find your strength. Let the pain become your strength.
    Me: Sweet Goddess of Yoga this hurts. Pleeeze give me some strength.

Nikki: Find your space. Space in your body. Space in your life.
    Me: I need space to lie down. When do we get to lie down?

Nikki: Fill your lungs. Inhale the good. Exhale the stale.
    Me: Am I still breathing? What was I thinking? I’m not going to survive this. I’ll never make it.

I did make it.  Barely.  But maybe I should have written that first paragraph before I decided to get back into the exercise routine. Because if I had, today I wouldn’t be so stiff and sore that I have to lift one leg with my hands to cross it over the other. And then push it off when I want to get up and walk somewhere, which I do very slowly because of the aching in my thighs and my cheeks. And I don’t mean the cheeks where I store M&Ms. I wouldn’t be so sore that I’ve been wishing I had handicap bars in the bathroom. I might not be so sore that I groan when I sneeze.

But then again, if I wasn’t this sore I’d just have to find something else to complain about which might not be nearly as interesting…like how Dean feeds his dog those expensive, peeled, baby carrots and feeds me the big honkin’ things you buy in bulk and have to peel and slice. If only I could tell you that I didn’t say that out loud either. But I can’t. I did say it. Out loud. Last night. At dinner. On our 38th wedding anniversary. Oh, Great Goddess of Married Couples. I come to you in humble ….◦


Deb said...

Happy 38th wedding anniversary. I didn't forget it - I never forget it - I just misplaced it... Hugs to both of you - keep the blogs coming. Love ya -

Art Elser said...

Yes, happy 38th wedding anniversary. I also didn't forget it. I never knew it. And I'll probably never know it again, unless you put it in your blog next year.

I've been thinking about starting yoga again. I got a post card from two women who ran a yoga studio several years ago and then quit. They are starting another studio with a third woman.

But, after reading about your pain, I'm not so sure. Oh great goddess of yoga ...