And shit's getting real. Prana. A breathing exercise sort of like the thing taught in childbirth classes, but without the pain. I could feel my abs working, and now want to do this at traffic lights. And lots of balance, and lots of knee involvement. Today my knees didn't pop like Jiffy-Pop, didn't hurt, and are actually slightly more flexible.
Because nevermind challenging poses, I can't do one of the most basic: Child's Pose, which is basically, "sit back on your heels, then bend forward, extend your arms, and rest your forehead on the mat." I can do it from the bend forward to resting forehead all day long, but the sit back on your heels at the beginning? I literally, actually cannot do that. My knees do not bend enough to assume that position. It's not really painful, I actually just hit a stopping point, like the hinges just can't go past a certain point. I used to be able to sit back on my heels, but somewhere over the last decade my knees lost the last of their "give" after a lifetime of abuse and neglect. Resting back on your heels is part of many transitions from one pose to another, and I can't do it. I have to modify it. One of my most annoying moments ever in a yoga class is an instructor who wants everyone to sit back on their heels while he/she explains the next stuff. I physically cannot do that, so I have to swivel around and sit cross-legged for the duration.
So today's session involved a lot of bent knees, and I had to modify the "sit back on your heels" a bit, but I did a lot more than I could have a couple of days ago. I also really appreciated the start of the video, when Adriene said it would be a lot of knees stuff and find a blanket or a towel for extra padding. I had just been thinking that I need to double up on my mats to protect my knees, and I'm going to start keeping a blanket handy. And this is why you need a good teacher, and why a planned series of poses works, and why one class a week is fun but won't do what yoga can do. Because I'm a 58 year old grandmother who sits in a cube all day and is just barely less sedentary than furniture most days, and by the end of Day Four, my knees were almost allowing me to sit back on my heels. By the end of the morning's session I could bend them a few degrees more than I could two days ago. I see the progress. And I feel fabulous when it's over! I swear I feel taller, calmer, and more ready to face the day.
They say it takes 30 days to change a habit. I'm waking up at 5 to do this. I have Mr. Coffee set to make the Elixir of Consciousness ready. I drink a cup and wake up a bit, then unroll the mat in the living room. Sophie is still snoring. The cat loses interest when she realizes there are no treats involved. I get 30 minutes of uninterrupted concentration on me. I like this. I need this. Because in the rest of the world, all hell's breaking loose.