Friends are essential to living.
They are people with whom you can collaborate and find all sorts of fun things to do.
They are people you trust with your most personal and private thoughts.
They help you celebrate all the events of your life, both big and small.
They encourage you when you try something new.
They listen when you have a need to spill your guts, but want no advice.
They take care of you when you are not feeling your best.
And they really should be there to put you in your place when you are smack dab in the middle of a huge delusional moment.
I wish I had a friend like that.
While in Chicago, the ladies were asking for a Lupus update. While telling them, I mentioned that I really should be trying some focused movement class, like tai chi.
One friend spoke up (We'll call her Swemp for today. It stands for "She Who Enjoys My Pain") and said that she does yoga every Monday and that I should join her. Perfect.
So Monday night I head out to her yoga studio. I got there a bit early, so I went in to do the bit of paperwork. The instructor asked if I knew anything about Ashtanga yoga. Nope. I just know that I'm supposed to do some type of yoga for my condition, and Swemp said this would be good for me.
He got a funny look on his face, then began to explain it. Ashtanga is one of the more challenging types of yoga. It focuses on breathing and core strength. Those who are good at it complete approximately 35 different poses, each held for five breaths, with no rest between. Instead of resting you do "transition moves". For beginners, that transition could be to simply sit with your legs crossed.
He asked if I had ever done any type of breathing excercises.
Yes, I gave birth to 6 children. I am a pro at controlled breathing.
Any core strength exercises?
Plenty. I was a college athlete for crying out loud.
(Can you see my delusion showing?)
Alrighty then. Sign here, stating that we are not responsible for anything that may happen to you.
This is about the time that Swemp showed up, all excited that I was joining her.
We got our mats and water set up, and the class began.
I have to say, the instructor was very good. He always gave variations on the positions we were doing, so if something was too difficult for the newer folks, we could cater it to our needs. He was very encouraging, constantly reminding us that we are looking for little bits of progress, not perfection from the get-go. My philosophy exactly!
I know this about myself: I am very competitive. Put me in a group of people doing something, I am going to do my darndest to not get shown up.
I believe this about myself: I am just as athletic and flexible as I was when I was 29.
And it all showed during this hour and a half of yoga.
Pose after pose I did the hardest position. If my body can do it, why shouldn't I? Look around. Lots of other people are doing it, too.
I twisted myself into all sorts of pretzel poses like this one:
I didn't simply sit with my legs crossed for transitions. I was hopping in and out of downward dog each and every time.
I was most excited when I did the big move near the end of class:
Yes, a back-bend, that only 10 year old gymnasts should do. Hold for five breaths, transition, then do it again for five more breaths.
(A little thank you shout out to Turken and Cuckoo for taking the photo reenactments for me!)
By the end of class, I was feeling great. My muscles were a little tired, just as they were supposed to be. I immediately signed up for five more classes.
While Swemp looked on with a smile on her face.
As we walked to our cars, she mentioned that she is usually a bit sore on Tuesdays. A good sore. Nothing to worry about. I expected this. You're always sore when you try a new athletic activity.
Tuesday morning, I woke up feeling great. No soreness. No unusual pain.
Around 9:00 I talked to my brother on the phone. During our conversation, my arm started to hurt. With each passing minute, my arm hurt more and more. After 20 minutes I had to get off the phone. My arm and shoulder were in terrific pain, all from holding a phone up to my ear. Not a good sign.
As the day went on, both arms started hurting more and more. I was mixing pancake batter for dinner and thought my arm was going to fall off. My legs began to feel sore, as well. That lactic acid was building up fast!
By 8:00 last night, I was a hot mess. "A bit sore" my butt! (Actually, I think that is the ONLY thing that isn't sore.) And in case you didn't know, Day 2 is always worse than Day 1.
Swemp is on my list.
And I'm going to let her have it, as soon as I can move myself enough to track her down.
She needs to know that, as my friend, she needs to speak up. When I am very actively denying my 40 years, she needs to speak up and put a quick stop to it.
Something like, "Hey, Hotshot. Go look at yourself in the mirror. You ain't no spring chicken." would have been immensely helpful.
A swift move to kick me out of the downward dog may have knocked some sense into me.
She just sat back and watched me position my way into immobilization.
And I have already paid for five more classes.
A non-delusional person would see me as having two choices: skip the sessions and lose the money, or go but take it easy.
You know I'll go. And because I am who I am, you know I'll do exactly the same thing, thinking, "My body is used to it now. It won't hurt nearly so much this time."
And we all know that it most certainly will hurt just as much.
But I'll do it anyway.
Because I am an athletic, flexible, 29 year old.