I used to love yoga. Long ago in the days of skinny and flexible, back when I was in college, I would do yoga and feel connected to myself. I loved feeling my body move and flex and stretch. It felt good to hug my knees and pull on my feet. I enjoyed the relaxation of breathing out and into a stretch.
When I started this journey last summer, I tried to incorporate yoga into my life and routine. It was not successful for a few reasons. First, I quickly found that I was too fat for most of the poses I knew. I didn’t let this deter me and quickly found yoga videos for curvy women. That didn’t offer me the yoga feelings I remember and often left me feeling … well… fat. Add to that my attempts to do it at 5am, and I was doomed. I walked away from yoga and didn’t look back.
Except that now I’ve lost 60 lbs, and I can run. After one of my runs this past weekend, I was stretching and had an moment of that old happy yoga feeling. I had placed my ankle on my knee and pulled my knee toward my face to stretch my hip, when I discovered that I could kiss my own ankle! SO COOL! (Yes, I’m aware it could also be considered a bit gross, but it made me happy.)
It got me thinking that maybe it’s time to give yoga another shot, so while I was at school, I found and downloaded some yoga for runners videos. I was all excited to give one a try tonight, and here’s how it went.
Video woman has us start on our knees sitting back on our feet and folding our face to the floor (child’s pose). I try to sit back on my feet and discover I still can’t do that and it REALLY F-ING HURTS to try. I stop the video, and huff past the pain while trying to peel myself off the floor. There are tears involved, but damn it – I am NOT giving up! After trying a pillow under my butt, sitting cross-legged, and attempting the original pose again, I discovered that I can lay on my face on the bed with my butt in the air and the mattress cushions my knees enough for it to work.
I restart the video. I’m now attempting to do yoga on my bed. The woman has us lay in child’s pose and stretch our shoulders, and I’m DOING IT! Then she has us pull back and stand up. Shit, I’m on my bed. I stop the video and pull my mattress off the bed to the floor, get on the mattress and restart the video.
The woman has us hang like a rag doll and hug our knees. She encourages knee bending which is good, because mine are REALLY bent a lot! But I’m doing it, and it feels good to hug my knees and stretch the back of my legs.
Then she has us step back into lunge. It’s awkward and my legs scream in pain, but I hang in there. I make it through downward dog, cobra, and 3-legged dog. By now I am sweating and swearing and my arms are shaking with my massive effort to contort my body to make it do anything. I’m trying to match the video’s second lunge (with the other foot in front) when I fall over.
I toppled sideways, rolled off of my mattress, stepped on my own finger, and banged my hip and elbow on the floor. I decided that was enough yoga for tonight. When I paused the video, I saw that I had made it 5 minutes and 27 seconds in – that includes the 40 second intro when the host introduced herself and welcomed me to her video.
Part of me wants to laugh, and part of my wants to cry with frustration. How can I lose 60 lbs and still feel just as fat and awkward and incapable as I did 8 months ago? I never expected losing weight to change my life or my identity, but I did/do expect it to change me physically. I want to be able to do yoga again – mainly because I want to feel like I can control my body and the way it moves and stretches again. That’s one of the things I hated most about being fat – I hated not being able to cross my legs, hug my knees, sit cross-legged on the couch, and move freely. I always felt like my fat physically and literally got in my way. I know I’m far from finished; I still have 40 lbs to go, but I’m starting to wonder if I’ll actually get that freedom of movement back…ever.
Sorry for the whine. It’s been a rough day all the way around. I believe I’ll go make myself a cup of tea and head to bed. I do think that moving the mattress off and back on the bed should totally count as a workout!