Tuesday, March 10, 2009

#32 Oh Dear, My Face Fell and Can't Get Up

It was about 10 years ago during a yoga class that I had my first encounter with falling body parts -- in case you're wondering, they weren't mine. Since then, I've learned that time and gravity are a bitch.

However, back then, I was young and still innocent of aging body parts. Actually, I was still dealing with post partum body parts. At 36 I felt young and in my prime. Picture this - I am in a yoga studio with about twenty women. We are all standing on our mats facing forward with our legs stretched as wide as comfortably possible and our hands are on our waists. We are told to bend forward so that the crown of our head can rest on our mat. So there I am, hanging upside down, looking between my legs into a full wall of mirrors. I take a look at my caboose sticking up in the air and decide to look elsewhere. I move my eyes to the right and see a woman in the mirror next to me with .... hanging facial skin. At 36, what do I know from sagging skin. The skin on our youthful faces and bodies is still connected very nicely to the underlying skeleton no matter what direction our bodies are standing, leaning or lying. I'm not sure how old this woman was, but in this position, her cheeks were hanging so loosely that the skin almost covered her eyes, and her breasts, well they were resting very comfortably on her chin. I smiled to myself and wondered if this would ever happen to me. At this point, if you feel the need, get out of your chair, stand with your legs spread apart and slowly bend until your head is lower than your waist. [Warning: major freak-out possible if you do this in a mirror and are over 45]

Like bras and panties swaying on a clothes line, I noticed other body parts. If you are still in the above position and your hands are on your waist, you may [or may not] want to look at your upper arms. Some of you may be used to seeing, feeling, lamenting your granny arms or whatever you call that hanging loose skin. Well, in this position, that skin is now hanging in the opposite direction - not something you see everyday let me tell you.

Leaving class that day, I felt energized and vibrant and young. Now comes the truly horrible part, I'm fast forwarding 10 years. I am now 46. I am in yoga class and the teacher asks us to transition from Warrior one [see photo at left] to Triangle Pose [see women in red below]. I've done Triangle Pose many times and getting into that pose has never really been a problem. However, this time something got in my way... and it wasn't a tight hamstring. I, of flat stomach and rounded butt, wasn't able to get into position because loose stomach skin was being painfully pinched between hip and ribs.

In Triangle pose, you are standing with your legs spread about 2 feet apart. Having moved from Warrior One to Triangle, both your arms are straight out at your sides. Continuing into the pose, you bend at the waist [lets say to the left] allowing the back of your left hand to slide down your inner left leg until it rests against the inside of the left ankle. The opposite arm is stretching up into the sky so that the body is completely aligned and you are looking up at your right hand. And of course, your derriere is not supposed to be sticking out, but rather pulled under. To deepen this pose, the teacher tells us to take our left hand and place it flat on the ground to the outside of the left ankle. It is at this point that I got pinched. I stood back up, used my right hand to hold the skin up while I tried again to go deeper.

It was also during this moment of horror that I remembered the yoga class from 10 years prior and the falling body parts. As I stood there in Triangle pose bending deeply to the left, I looked into the mirror and saw that my left cheek was trying to follow my left hand, down my left leg to rest on the floor next to my left ankle. I smiled to myself, a bit lopsidedly, and decided to take the high road. Looking in the mirror at my pretzeled body, I said to myself, "Self, you are one silly looking skin drooping roll pinching 46 year old VERY LIMBER LADY!!!

"Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth" Julie Andrews

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