This month’s newness? Yoga!

I have to say, every month as I settle in to write my blog post, I realize I am about to write about something that might seem totally unremarkable to many of our blog readers. I am, in fact, a work in progress when it comes to my relationship with activity, and with my body. I have written before about my mixed-relationship with exercise.

The truth is, I really value my monthly post here, for the opportunity to reflect. Since I was a never “good at sports,” I pretty much avoided using my body when I could. When I did use it, it was either painful physically or the experience challenged my self-confidence emotionally. So THANK YOU to Sam and Tracy for creating this space, and making it an inclusive one where people like me can share our less-than-glorious experiences with sport.

Recently I’ve told you about hiking at elevation (Thoughts on a New Hiker Hiking at Altitude), about skating (Back On the Ice for a Moment) and about tackling (and vanquishing!) the challenge of a giant staircase every morning On Gender, Stairs and Finding the Progress Where I Can). This month, my accomplishment came on a mat – I went to a yoga class!

Like many middle-aged, white women, I have heard about the wonders of yoga for a long time. Years ago I went to a few classes and got entirely overwhelmed by them. I wasn’t so wise then, and set myself up for failure by going to drop in classes where I was WAY out of my depth. And I gave up.

But last week, I went to a yoga class at my workplace. My employer provides the class and my colleagues were very encouraging with gentle invitations for a few weeks. So I got brave and went. My workplace has been quite stressful for me, and I thought if nothing else I would lay on the mat and breathe.

Selfie of woman smiling at the camera, with grey and pink hair looking messed up.
This is me back at my desk after yoga – sweaty, relaxed and smiling!

Well, let me tell you readers, that is NOT what I did. In fact, I did all the moves. I kind of rocked it, at least in my head 😊. I definitely wobbled a whole bunch and more than once looked up and realized I was bending when I was meant to be standing or something… but still. I managed to plank a bit. I downward-dogged along with everyone. I child-posed when I needed to. I even lizard-ed. I LOVED IT.

I have talked about my hip surgeries before –  I’ve had 2 repairs in 3 years. This was quite a moment of excitement for me – my hips were a little sore afterwards, but now 4 days later I can say that they are totally fine. WOW. And it was fun. The teacher was kind and encouraging of everyone to go at their own pace.

So, as soon as I got back to my desk, I signed up for next week’s class. And I intend to be back every week that it’s running. I hope I can find the teacher off-campus and maybe attend another of her classes. Me at yoga? Wow.

fitness · motivation · swimming · training

You can love a thing and always suck at it. That’s okay. Also in not unrelated news, Sam starts swimming lessons.

Susan gave me some framed pictures from our cruise for my birthday, photos of me in the water. Such happy memories from our cruise. Thanks Susan! I look really happy. And that’s the thing. I love being in the water. I’m not scared of fish. I’m not worried about drowning. I can tread water and float really well. It feels great moving in the water.

But you’ll never see that smile indoors. And swimming, here in Canada at least, is mostly an indoor activity. Also, my swimming isn’t at a level where it’s a fitness activity. I’m not sure why, bad technique probably, but unlike running and cycling, I don’t seem to get faster with training in the pool. When I trained with the university students’ triathlon club I was the anchor person of the slow lane. New people came and then after a time moved up to a faster lane.

Then last week this article made its way into my newsfeed, Revel in the joy of doing things you’ll never master.

And I wondered, could I enjoy swimming without getting any faster? Does everything have to be about speed and improvement? Couldn’t swimming just be pleasurable even if I remained a slow swimmer?

I begin swimming lessons later in September. I’ll let you know how it goes!

In the meantime here’s me 11 years ago, with Susan, after the Kincardine Women’s Triathlon. I was happy but I was also last out the water of those who weren’t rescued. The thing is I was in zero danger. No need to rescue me. But I was just slow, as usual. Maybe that’s okay.

Maybe part of my learning to love swimming means getting comfortable with staying in the same place?

How about you? Do you have a thing you’re not good at but that you love anyway?

Susan and Sam, 2007