Yoga In The Middle Ages; A Blog By Christine Maginnis

To everyone at Yin Yang Yoga and Wellness Center, thank you for giving me a safe haven in which to spread my yogi toes and fly!  :-)

Yoga in the Middle Ages


Ten months ago the only downward facing dogs I knew were the two droopy mutts I carried around in my bra.  In July of 2013, I tipped the scales at 210 pounds.  My sitz bones were buried somewhere in the resplendence that was my backside and the only third eye I could imagine was when I placed my reading glasses over my prescription glasses in order to see anything on my computer screen.  I was 46 but I felt 106. I was stuck.


A close friend’s decision to have weight loss surgery was my call to action. I decided that I would take my fading well-being seriously. Thus began my journey to gain health. I wasn’t interested in losing much more as I had already shed my energy, my dignity, my health and my street cred as a worthy mother and wife. I longed for more energy, to be the old vivacious me.


In structuring my plan to gain health, I knew it might have to require some kind of… what did they call it?... ah, yes… fitness!  Part of my gaining plan was that I needed actual exercise, a kind that involved more than simply sprinting away from cameras (an act I dubbed the chub-rub hustle!).


In the town where I live, there sits a modest, almost humble yoga studio. I knew it was there because it’s above the bakery, home of sticky rolls and sugar cookies.  With resolve, I walked through the waft of cinnamon and butter and, for the first time, up the stairs to the studio. In truth, simply climbing those stairs left me more than a bit winded which seemed an inauspicious sign.


I thought the wise thing to do was to start with a Gentle Yoga class so I could ease into this yoga-thing slowly. Wrong!  I had a full-on panic attack fifteen minutes into class as I couldn’t catch my breath—I only wish I were joking. I escaped to the bathroom where I repeatedly splashed cold water all over my red-hot and hugely embarrassed face. 


Hey! We thought this was supposed to be gentle, bemoaned the bad-guy voices in my head, scolding me for being so utterly out of shape and encouraging me to grab solace in a few croissants on my mad dash home.


But I didn’t go home! (Insert heroic music here, preferably from a few decades ago, something like the Mighty Mouse theme song or the one played when Rocky climbed all those steps!)  


I rejoined the class.


I continued to take “gentle” classes for weeks until I felt just a bit more bendy and a lot less winded.  I did the best damn down dog I could muster, even if my heels were inches off the ground.  And I loved it!


I found that over time, I actually could quiet my ever-racing thoughts. I moved up—up!—to beginner’s yoga and had my second panic attack, and yet I still stuck with my practice. The Vinyassa flow class always preceded the Beginners class so I watched as they did seemingly impossible things with the beauty of synchronized swimmers and the athleticism of Olympians.  I felt the body heat they left behind in that studio. “That,” I thought, “I will never be able to do!”  


Ten months later, I am 47 years old and more than 50 pounds lighter.  Not only can I do the Vinyassa flow class, but I crave it like an addict.  Instead of full-on panic attacks, I now get full-on, sweaty, heavenly, mind-blowing, stress alleviating, tranquility inducing workouts that make me feel twenty again. There has not been one step in my journey that was easy, not the first, not the second nor the fifteenth, but I’ve learned to stop saying” I will never be able to do that!”  I fly in crow, twist in triangle and stand resolute in tree.  By fifty, I plan to be doing the splits.


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