Thursday, January 17, 2013

Yoga with Cats - or how cats are just little furry show-offs...

Last semester, one of the courses that Grace & I took was Yoga 101.  I had known that I was going to have to take a Phys-Ed class, and was grateful that I wouldn't be charging up and down a basketball court with a bunch of 18 year olds.  Yoga seemed...manageable.  I thought it might even be beneficial.  All that stretching, lying on mats and calm, meditative music...maybe it would take the edge off of macroeconomics?

What we ended up with can only be described as aerobic yoga.  Or, as our teacher, Lynn, called it, fitness yoga.  The Sun Salutation had always seemed to me like a gentle, friendly way to say, "Hello, sun!" with your body.  I greet the sun each morning slowly.  One eye opening at a time.  Lots of stretching and yawning and tea drinking and sitting dumbly on the couch petting a cat and waiting for the "wake up" hormones to reach my brain.  My idea of a Sun Salutation wasn't much different.

Lynn's sun salutations matched her personality.  Eyes popped open, together and alert, a leap out of bed, feet hitting the floor already running.  Up and stretch and arms down and relax (for a briefest second) and plank and downward dog and upward dog and jump to your feet and do it all again and again and again and don't forget to breath and "woohoo! Doesn't that feel good!?"

It was lovely to watch.  And challenging to do.  Still, I enjoyed the class.  There were meditative moments, lots of stretching, more than a few aerobics but nothing that was too hard.  The class was on Mondays. Tuesday revealed exactly which muscles I had used on Monday.  They were the ones that screamed when I tried to use them on Tuesday.  Wednesday, they were still grumbling, but resigned.  Thursday, all was well again.

Lately, I have started doing yoga again, in my living room.  I've been having a lot of back and hip pain, especially at night. There are particular yoga poses and stretches that help with these problems.  The cats find it all very interesting.

A few nights ago, I was lying on my back on the living room floor.  My arms were stretched out to the sides, my right leg was on the ground, straight, and my left leg was bent, with my left foot on my right thigh, and my hip twisted so that my left knee touched the floor to the right of me.  It's a stretch for the hips and lower back, and actually feels good, in a stretchy, pulling kind of way. It's not easy, though.

Mycroft, our free-range cat, had come in from his wanderings earlier in the evening.  Having visited the food bowl and had a bit of a cleaning session, he wandered over to see what I was doing.  He stood over my head and looked down into my face.  He's got a bit of a sinus thing going on, and all I could think is, "If you sneeze in my face..." but he didn't. Instead, he laid down on the floor beside me, stretched out onto his back and effortlessly twisted himself into a reasonable facsimile of the pose that I was doing.

Then, he licked his paw, yawned, and fell asleep.

Nobody "gets" yoga like a cat.

Just a thought....

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