Since I came off the trail a month ago, I knew I had to make drastic changes in terms of my weight, eating habits, and exercise. Which is hard.
I love food.
I really love chocolate.
But I love hiking more. I love being outside and sitting on a mountain’s peak and watching the world in its slow spin. I love listening to the wind as it rushes up from the valley and hits the trees. I love watching the birds in their lazy archs high above me.
I just love.
I do not love lugging a thirty-five pound backpack up and down mountains while carrying a lot more than that on my thighs, legs, stomach, and butt.
I do not love the fact that I started crying at one point because I was just so weak.
I do not love how sore my ankles and tendons were.
These were all preventable issues if I had just taken the time to do the preventative work.
But I didn’t. So I can scream, rant, and cry about it now.
Or I can just choose to change.
So I changed.
I still love my chocolate. I still love food. But I have been able to scale back on my portions, cut out the majority of what I shouldn’t be eating, and increase the vegetables and fruits that I should be eating.
So, in the last month, success.
Woo hoo for me!
One thing I did not love was my precarious sense of balance. My clumsiness has always been a great source of humor for my family, friends, and me. I am good at laughing at my own klutziness.
However, that klutziness was not hysterical when I was perched on rocks and taking an unbearably long time navigating my way over rocks because I wasn’t certain about my foot placement, about my knees’ stamina, about my horrible balance.
I could have done a lot more and done it a whole lot more comfortably if I had just taken the time to strengthen muscle groups and just fix my balance issues.
I don’t have inner ear problems. I have inner pendulum problems. I have weak ankles and not so strong knees which means that I continually feel myself wobbling on the rocks. Which literally shakes my confidence and encourages me to go even slower (which is painfully slow now) and side step and basically hike as though I were a chubby toddler.
Funny to think about.
Not funny to experience.
I have started running again. I’m up to a mile and a half. Woo hoo for me.
I use the stair climber at the gym. On the slower speeds, I can move continually for twenty minutes. Twenty long, sweaty, disgusting minutes.
I work out on the ellipticals (various machines that I am really not good at describing other than the feet motions remind my gym partner and me of the old steam trains with the big wheels connected by a long piece of steel to the smaller wheels).
I lift weights. It’s kind of funny watching me do that. I make ugly faces.
I do yoga.
I love yoga. When I’m in my yoga class at the gym, I usually drag my daughter who hates the class but has a lovely sense of balance. The instructor love us because my daughter is generally the youngest person in the room and I think she’s impressed to see my daughter in an adult yoga class.
I love that as I move through the poses, my mind stops running and the anxiety dribbles out my toes and I am graceful and beautiful in my Warrior One pose.
I’m just a bit lumpy and curvy and a bit self-aware because of all the beautiful people around me. And, inevitably, I will need to do something completely ungraceful like making sure I don’t fart in the middle of a pose.
Especially when the instructor is telling everyone to inhale while moving into the downward facing dog pose.
Definitely not a good time to let one rip. Which is hard since most of my diet now consists of vegetables and fruits which naturally cause the body to become a bit gassy.
I can’t stretch and twist and bend and bind and wrap like everyone else. But I am learning and am strengthening.
This weekend, I practiced my poses. The family was asleep so I brought in the cat, turned on the television, unrolled my mat, poured myself some water, and started stretching.
I went through the sun salutations. Bent and held a chair pose or two. Did something with a flat back in which I was bent over and pressing down on my knees.
The television show bored me. So I clicked over to Netflix.
The Boy has been catching up on The Walking Dead and I realized that Season Six has been released. I had missed the last three shows of the season and, given that I had the downstairs to myself, I turned on my missed episodes.
And went back to yoga.
There’s nothing quite like the quiet, contemplative beauty of yoga to the soundtrack of The Walking Dead. Yup, while Rick and the Alexandria Safe Zone people were wiping out a compound full of menacing individuals known ironically as the Saviors, I was planking, shifting into cobra pose, straightening into upward dog, and then pulling myself into an inverted the V of downward facing dog.
I breathed through Glenn killing people. I let go of my mind as the gore played itself out and I stared at my hands splayed on my green mat.
And then, the cat realized that I was totally un-distracted. And while I was trying to curl my body into boat pose, she thought that was the perfect time to jump into my lap and expect attention.
Silly cat, yoga time is not petting time.
Stupid human, sure it is.
So while I continued to move through warrior poses, bend into a leaky boat, hold myself up in the downward facing dog, I scratched my cat behind the ears. I made sure I didn’t squish her when she laid down on the mat just behind where I was stretching and posing so that my first instinct when I stopped these stupid and crazy poses would be to pick her up, plop her on my lap, and just start petting her with all my undivided attention.
For about an hour, I did my distracted yoga. I alternated between looking just over the tv when things got really gross on the screen to staring at the wide empty triangles of my fingers to the perplexed and mildly annoyed expression on my cat’s face.
I emptied my mind. I recharged my mind. And then, when I finally couldn’t do anything else, I sat down, picked up the cat, plopped her on my lap, and rubbed her behind the ears while the next episode of The Walking Dead started.