Tuesday, October 26, 2010

30 Things To Do Before I Turn 30-- #16

First, I need to apologize for my utter blogging lameness.  No new content in over a week?  Tsk tsk, Kait.  Tsk tsk.

Secondly, I'm so excited to cross something off my bucket list so soon!

Today, I can say that I have accomplished Item #16: Start doing yoga.

In my 24 years of life, I have never really been a fan of physical activity.  Specifically?  Exercise.  There was that summer when I was 17 and rode my bike around my subdivision every day, eventually venturing to the runners' path at the Park District across the street from my neighborhood.  This summer was a strange anomaly.  I've never gotten much out of exercise.  It just made me tired and sweaty.  Frankly, as an underweight teenager, there was a part of me that felt I didn't need exercise as I was terrified of losing weight.  A purely sedentary life was the key to gaining weight and, in my mind, looking like a normal person.

This laziness extended into adulthood.  I matured into a full-on couch potato.  I became the person who laughed when her friends asked her if she wanted to go running with them.  "Yeah, sorry, i don't exercise.  I'm just not that person."  My lack of physical activity didn't seem to have a negative effect on my health.  Or so I thought.

Let's bring yoga into this mix.  I've been curious about yoga for about two years.  I have heard countless testimonies about the wonders of yoga.  "It's so calming."  "It really does wonders for your flexibility."  Plus, I knew of 40+ year old who did yoga and had some much energy and, to be honest, fabulous bodies.  The idea of calming myself by turning my thoughts inward and working on my strength and flexibility was all intriguing to me.  Despite my curiosity, I was under the impression that yoga was out of my reach.  I didn't have the time or the funds for a yoga class, so it remained in that "maybe some day" category of things I wanted to do.

Cut to the beginning of October, less than a week after I posted my bucket list.  My mother and sister came home from a trip to Wal-Mart with...a Wii and Wii Fit Plus.  I.was.SO.EXCITED.  Free yoga.  In my house!  I could start right away!  My sister sang the praises of the Wii Fit, especially the yoga.  I did pause for a moment as I looked at the box.  If I didn't give a shit about my abs, what benefits could be gained from this exercise?  That's when sissy chimed in: "It's really great for your posture."

Oooooh my posture.  I have TERRIBLE posture.  My shoulders slouch forward and my lower back has a slight curvature.  Because of all this, I am plagued by lower back pain and the most stubborn knots you'll ever encounter.  Clearly, I had much to gain from beginning a yoga regimen.

It's been over three weeks since I started doing yoga daily.  I cannot even believe what an effect it has had.  Yoga has helped me become aware of my poor posture and pelvic alignment and I can now correct my posture when I feel that it is off.  I have less back pain and less new knots.  Already a tall woman, I now stand just a little bit taller as I imagine that string pulling the top of my head to the ceiling.

The benefits of yoga go beyond better posture.  I find that I have more energy after a quick half hour Wii Fit session.  The most amazing benefit has been yoga's magical restorative powers.  This past weekend, I competed at a two-day Speech Tournament and had forgotten that the morning after these tournaments, I wake up feeling like I'd been hit by a bus.  Being awake from 5 AM to 10 PM and giving speeches in heels takes a surprising toll on your body.  Typically, I floated through those post-tournament Sundays like I was hungover.  This past Sunday, I got on the Wii Fit.  I was dreading it a bit, considering how much pain my body was in, but I've been committed to doing my yoga every day.  A half hour later, I got off that balance board and my body had been rejuvenated.  It was unbelievable.  Two days of damage reversed in a half hour?  Instead of wasting my Sunday, I felt surprisingly awake and productive enough to get shit done. 

My daily yoga regimen has made me an exercise convert.  Yoga makes me feel alive and powerful, as well as aids in the healing of my body.  Above all, yoga has proved me wrong.  Six months ago, I thought I didn't need exercise because my health was fine.  Now I am aware that my health was in no way "fine."  I had horrible back pain, my immune system was poor, and my energy was consistently low.  My back now feels better, I've managed to avoid colds this entire month, and I feel more motivated.  All in all, this was an excellent item to put on my bucket list.  I only wish I would have come around to yoga years ago.

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