Friday, April 6, 2012

2/3 there!
Beautifully erratic day yesterday. Pouring rain in the AM, cloudy in the mid afternoon, then clear and chilly later when I went to the lesson. By the time I got up on Lightening I had to shed everything over my t-shirt to be comfortable.
I was afraid I’d forget everything, but didn’t! I feel like I am learning fast, and Paula is kind enough to agree that I learn faster than some. Heels down, weight on the inside foot, sit straight, grip with calves. My big revelation was in “steering.” I’d gotten the idea that to turn the horse right (for instance) I’d use the inside rein to turn, but nope, it is the outside one.
And we trotted! Horses have four speeds: walk, trot, canter and gallop. I’m a bit afraid of everything about riding (but with rapidly growing confidence!) and I went fast the first time (couple lessons ago) by accident. I instantly proved that I knew how to stop, without any lessons, and did it right. My sweet instructor—at that time she said, “Well, good, I see you’ve got the kicking part down! Let’s go a bit easier now.” Well, yesterday I got to do it intentionally and discovered I was not frightened at all! Really fun too.
Balance is sometimes an issue. When I am lunging (?) the horse—holding a long strap clipped to the bridle to get the horse to go in circles—I get really dizzy. I’ve always felt a tad dizzy anyway, and some of my meds have a tendency to increase that a bit. I’m not actually sure what I was doing when I lost my balance and tumbled from the horse again. Managed to get my foot over and landed on my back, again. Not hurt too much. And full of gratitude that the arena is sand! En espaƱol, la palabra por “sand” es arena.
Paula told me, “Some people you haven’t learned to ride until you’ve fallen three times.” So I guess I am now officially 2/3 of the way done.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Discovering New Parts

It’s been much too rainy to ride lately. I’d been walking more, enjoying my new upright position. That poem down there was composed while walking with my eyes closed in the only place I can find with a perfectly level surface. Now I really know what it means when they say “Death is the great leveler.” But my feet really hurt in the rain and cold, and it makes me walk all hunched over and uncomfortable. Screw that, I stay in and dash out to do chores or mini-tasks like weeding or trimming.

Then a month ago Suzanne gave me a gift certificate for the nearby yoga studio: “Guaranteed Happiness” package, with a literal payback if unhappy after doing eight of ten sessions in a month. It’s just down the street, called Om Shala. Convenient—I walk past it all the time. Literally 2 blocks from my door. People park in front of my house all the time to walk down there. Their rolled up mats are a giveaway.

The hardest part was working up the courage to go. The immediate reason was because, as far as I had ever seen, yoga isn’t for creaky-boned old men, but for very fit young women. Unless the old man has been doing it all his life, I mean. I imagined myself falling and stumbling around as a room full of lean and fit teenage girls rolled their eyes at me. At least that is how I imagined it to be.

But the literature was warm and welcoming, so I scrunched up my anxiety and went to my first class, Gentle Yoga. There was even another old guy there! I felt good after the first session.

I went to another beginner’s class. Bigger class, and frankly, outclassed! I did my best but unsurprisingly could barely do some of the exercises, but plugged away, sweating like a rain shower, and very much aware that I was entirely unable to do the ones where I’ve got to lean on my wrists. I got through it, came home, drank water, and took a nap. Too much, really, so I’m sticking to the Gentle Yoga and Relaxation Yoga. Even though on the second session the instructor helped me arrange my bones a bit differently and I discovered several sets of muscles that I did not know I had. Old bones, old tendons too! Ached for days. Felt very weird to be aware of those muscles. Like discovering parts of myself that had gone away. Wonderful, actually.