My Monday night routine now includes the requisite visit to the Y, but with a little twist. I am taking a yoga class. I initially started doing this because I thought the stretching component would be a good balance for all the cardio I am beating my body with. While this still remains true, I am also getting an alternative benefit. It relaxes me. It helps push that giant elephant named Bernie off my chest and onto the floor for a bit each week. And that can only be a good thing.
This past Monday was the best class yet. There were only about eight of us that ventured out on that stormy night, so we were able to move through the sequences at a faster pace. I am noticing that my balance is getting better and the flexibility in my hips in particular is increasing. And so that led me to believe that I could easily do a full back bend. Now, I used to do these in high school, and probably still in college. But recently I have had no reason to attempt one. I must admit that at the moment it felt GLORIOUS. I only slightly regretted it the next afternoon, and then really realized the pain in my core the days following. That though, will not stop me from doing another. Bernie doesn’t seem to balance well when I am bent upside down.
As I was in this most unnatural of positions, I couldn’t help but recall a story about two of my expat friends in the Philippines. The three of us stood out over there for very specific and similar reasons. We were white. We were blond. We were tall. And we were not small. These two delightful people took a weekend and went to a health spa a couple hours outside of Manila. While there, they engaged in a yoga class. As they were contorted into strange positions, the instructor looked at my friend and said, “You are bendy for a big girl!”. I can only imagine how hard they laughed at that moment. That remains one of my favorite travel tales of theirs.
My instructor on Mondays ends every session with a little passage or scripture, and I especially liked this one. I decided that I too can be bendy. And in this case, bendy means changing course and going forward.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.