This year I finally decided to try yoga as form of excercise to replace my previous routine of "No Exercise at All." Lately I can’t perform the “Trying to Tie My Shoe” dance in the privacy of my own grocery store without a friend pointing out snippily that yoga would strengthen my core muscles and give me balance.
The only core I care about is at the center of my candy apple. At my age, self improvement is just another name for “Deductible."
For the Shoe Dance, I just stretch down toward my foot and simultaneously raise my Reebok while hopping on one foot and trying to catch my shoe strings. I don’t need yoga, I need higher shoes.
However, in the spirit of avoiding the “I told you so” song performed by a choir of the sagest of my friends and family, I decided to learn some yoga. I figured it wouldn’t take a bloomin’ Lotus to convince them to take their downward dog faces somewhere else. Besides, given my motto of "no excess movement unless there is a fast-moving spider involved," it beats World Cup soccer as a form of exercise.
“You need to work on your asanas,” my sister perked.
“Well yours isn’t getting any smaller, either,” I snapped.
“No, I mean your poses. Start with some Sun Salutations for warmup and work your way through.”
“Through what? Do I have to greet everything in the sky? There’s a bird up there that I am NOT speaking to until he cleans up my car."
I decided that as a modern woman who once engaged the delivery room nurse in hand-to-hand combat over the rights to the Demerol, I could at least create my own yoga positions. Poses that would fit in with my graceful and elegant, if slightly advanced, lifestyle. I’m including them here because my goal in life is to help other people. That, and I also have a video camera and a lifelong wish to win the big money on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Down with the Dog Position: Stretch as far as possible across the bed until you can at least touch the dog, who is presently indulging in a flagrant violation of house rules by reclining dreamily and just out of reach on the bed as if he’d received an invitation from Lassie for Dogs Rule Day. Smack at his paws with the tips of your fingers until he rolls his eyes, sighs heavily, and jumps down in exasperation.
Tiny Print Eyeball Squint: This is an exercise for the muscles of the face. Try to read the answers to yesterday’s crossword puzzle in the newspaper without wearing your glasses. Squint eyes tightly, wrinkle your nose, and draw the upper lip toward the wild hairs sprouting from your eyebrows. Pull newspaper so close to your face that you could inhale the letters off the page, and repeat the exercise. Extend arms to full length, leaning to one side to allow more light onto paper. Repeat exercise. Give up and roll up paper to use later during Down With the Dog position.
Crossed Legs Sneezing Position: As a mother of two children, I am at the time of my life where a single sneeze can cause an embarrassing fashion disaster. (During cold and flu season I leave a change of clothes in every room, two in the trunk of my car, and one in the glove compartment.) I find that the following exercise eradicates the dangers of a water hazard should respiratory systems erupt during a heated discussion at a PTA meeting. When a sneeze threatens to attack, quickly cross one foot carefully over the other and squeeze the thighs together like lemons at juicing time. This exercise may draw comments from the crowd, but allows you to put off the purchase of designer adult diapers for a little while longer.
Late for Curfew Aerobics: What good is an exercise program that doesn’t elevate your heart rate? When the teenager is out past curfew, sprint to the window every five minutes to check for their car. Sprint to the telephone and snatch up the receiver to see if there’s still a dial tone. Sprint to your purse and dig for your cell phone to see if there’s a message from the Sheriff. When the errant teen finally wonders in, indulge in a rapid toe tap while crossing the arms over the chest. Breathe in and out quickly to stimulate blood flow to the heart. Produce an atom-splitting tirade on House Rules to cleanse the body of impurities.
Corpse Pose: This is an actual yoga position designed for total relaxation at the end of a workout. The body is stretched out on the floor much like a murder victim on CSI. It doesn’t work the core muscles, but it sure beats trying to get up until an Emergency Responder carrying oxygen and a tow rope happens by to give you a hand. So if you happen across a woman with untied shoes stretched across the Weight Watchers aisle in the grocery store, step over her. It's me. I'm either finding inner peace or waiting for the tow truck to arrive.