I'm responsible, capable and able to make good decisions in a crisis, but I am not a very 'calm' person by nature, so yoga, with it's years of practice to become a master, and it's zen-like relaxation... the silence and the named poses, none of it seems like it would be a good fit for me. But I've tried.
The first time I went to yoga was with my dear friend BQ. It was "relaxation yoga" at the beautiful YMCA near her house. We took our precious baby girls who were barely toddling, and probably both still nursing, placed them in the uber-awesome childcare with seasoned staff and happy decorations and ironically ran to make the class. There were mats to get and blocks to place and blankets to fold; we filled our water bottles. Class began by lying down on the mat. Of course, "lying down" is not an exercise to me, so I was immediately frustrated because if I was going to take any time for myself then DAMMIT it was going to count and I was going to be in shape and healthy for my children, and as I laid there, cursing myself for thinking that anything with the word "relaxation" in the title was going to be my speed, the pager went off from the nursery, and I was called back to pick up my crybaby. As nice as the staff is, they did not appreciate my daughter screaming her head off.
Then I went to Bikram yoga with Pollyanna.. where they crank up the heat and steam until you want to throw up as you pull your right foot up and over, opening up the pelvis.... I lasted the entire class and was congratulated for doing so. Then I felt dumb because I realize I could have left. It had not occurred to me that "quitting" was an option. Because dammit if I am going to take time for myself then it is going to matter and I am going to DO THIS. I went back one more time before I randomly hit my head on the tailgate of my not-so-mini-van and gave myself a bonk that rendered me unable to find the right words to say, and an ache in my head that took a week to get rid of.
Next I tried some yoga/pilates torture with Squid. We went on Tuesdays for a month, for a 90 minute class. It was very hard, and the instructor of the first class made breathing sounds that sounded way too intimate for me to do anything but keep from giggling. The other two sessions I attended went well, but when I went to sign up for more I just could not justify spending $20 a class, when twenty bucks can buy so many other things.
But this morning I woke up and I wanted to go to yoga. I wanted to sit in a room with other bendy humans on a large flip-flop and contort my body, pull at my toes, and try to reach the center of my back... on purpose. I did not grow up in a family that encouraged regular exercise or sports... no discouragement... just no real nudge for athletic achievement, which is funny, because I have great hand eye coordination and pretty good spatial awareness. I do however find that tasks which do not accomplish more than one thing at a time sort of gnaw at me. Treadmill, blech, but a hike? yes. a walk about? yes. strolling downtown to hear music in the square? Count me in.
When Descartes and I are by ourselves without the kids, we lead a much less sedentary life; we walk places, go on hikes, park farther away, take public transportation. I think we eat better too.
I'm not sure what it is about both of our kids together, or is it Jake's muscle weakness.. and our need to use the wheelchair? It all makes exercise seem impossible. And when they are at school I feel like I am catching up on work and paperwork and shopping. When would I take a full hour and have it be all about me? Well, apparently at 8:30 am after bus and school drop-off, at least for today, it worked. And maybe it will work on another day this week, or the next. Today I went to yoga, for me. Not to keep someone else company, or because there was a coupon. I went because my body wanted to move that way today.
I'm hoping there are some busier days for our bodies in the future. Jake is inside that trailer in the picture there. He's grown out of his last bike trailer, and as Lucy is old enough now to learn to ride a bike, she's been asking more and more often to go on bike rides as a family. It's a from a company called WIKE, and is both a bike trailer and a jog stroller. Jake doesn't have the skills to ride a bicycle yet, and he gets tired after about 1/2 mile of trail walking. This trailer will get us through three or four years of Jake growing, and hopefully provide our family with some great outdoor time. At the very least Jack had a great time in it being hauled across the soccer field last Saturday.
I think parents with special needs kids forget to take care of themselves, I know I have. Moms generally have a habit of putting themselves at the bottom of the list. But Jake needs a lot of help physically, and if I don't "increase my core strength" and build up a little bit of muscle, it's going to become increasingly difficult to care for him without significant help.
Today, I went to yoga.