Due to regular and insistent urging from my oncologist, I strive to do some type of exercise or physical movement/activity virtually every day. One of my favorites, which I incorporate at least once a week, is yoga. That’s a style of exercise which I truly look forward to, especially when my medication-induced joint and muscle pain are really cramping my style.
Why do I like yoga? Number one, because it makes me feel taller. That’s not the most important reason, but it is the first thing I notice after my yoga practice. Once I can get up the energy to stand. The relaxation of it is so soothing. I’m all melted into the floor, with warm muscles and a supple spine. After I’ve stretched and twisted and rocked and gently balanced my body, aches give way to openness.
Being taller may be an illusion, but feeling taller gives me a sense of lightness. My head floats on top of my spine, without that weighty, bowling ball sensation. The grace of a dancer resides in my movements, rather than any clunky shuffling along. A quiet awareness allows me to have a calm perspective as I integrate back into the flow of my day.
Yoga has a non-competitive and generous spirit that invites me into my practice. It is my own, individual practice, each day being different. As I take the time to tune in and listen to what my body is telling me, I can support and meet those needs. It is nourishing, from the outside in. My breath deepens in a pose, my back expanding as fresh oxygen fills my lungs. I feel ageless moments as I balance in tree pose, gazing into the distance. Time is not counted, reps are not counted. This is communion between my heart and body, a re-integration of the wholeness that is our birthright.