• Karen Heckman Stork

Me and My Yoga Pants

“Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”B.K.S. Iyengar

Another story about my journey into the fourth quarter of my life. This story is about exercise. No, don’t let your eyes glaze over and think “not another story about the importance of remaining fit.” It’s not. I’ve always enjoyed yoga. The stretching…..the feeling of invulnerability……the absolute nonsense of one’s ass stuck up in the air. Standing with arms outstretched wide, feeling like a powerful warrior, until you lose your balance and tip forward slightly.

The practice of yoga begins with the discipline of centering oneself and concentrating on simply breathing in and out, forcing the breath deep into your belly, feeling it expand with each intake and contract with each exhale. And doing that consciously, thinking only about your breathing, again and again and again…..until finally you take such a deep breath and blow it all out that you fear you might just pass out.

I have loved doing yoga for quite a while. It started back in Nebraska because a local city TV station would broadcast yoga classes 2-3 mornings a week. So I could do yoga in my pjs. And though the exercises were years old, they were never outdated and always useful, especially when one is dealing with arthritis in any part of the body (for me it was and still is in my neck).

But then I moved to Wilmington, NC and tried to find a class. I discovered that actual yoga classes cost real money. Until a friend told me that her church sponsored “pay what you can” yoga classes on Saturday mornings. I was hooked again after only one class. The stretches and poses were challenging for someone who has been away from yoga for over a year. But yoga is very forgiving. It’s not about “no pain, no gain”, it’s about letting your body speak to you, doing only what feels good, but never to the point of pain. And it feels so good, especially after our final shavasana which is a rest period to let the body cool down and when our instructor comes around to massage our neck and shoulders. Nobody wants to leave after those final relaxing minutes.

In my 76 years I never wore yoga pants (which seem to be everywhere these days). So I decided I wanted to fit in and luckily found a pair on sale for $10. And although the instructor had yoga mats we could borrow, everyone in class except me brought their own. And so now I, too, own my own yoga mat. I guess that means I will have to continue with this exercise activity once a week, along with my other activities of line dancing and walking.

I’ve actually never been so active in my life as I am now. As we all progress on our aging journey to our final destination, I encourage y’all to just find ways to “move it”, any way you like but get up off the couch, engage your mind and your body. Move those muscles, and keep on moving and giving thanks for the ability to do so, for as long as you can.

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