Ever since we moved a few months ago, I have struggled to adhere to an exercise routine. I finally decided to sign up for some type of physical activity. My husband, facing the same struggle, agreed to join me. Due to my health issues, we decided on Gentle Yoga and Tai Chi.
The first Tai Chi class we attend, I quickly discover that I am by far the youngest person in the class. This should be so easy. The instructor begins the class with breathing exercises. No problem. Next, it’s time to balance. I danced for years, so this is my chance to shine. As I lift my foot off the ground to rotate my ankle, I start to topple over. I quickly put my foot back down. Hm. I lift my foot again. I am determined to do these simple ankle rotations. I wobble in an alarming fashion. The instructor with a concerned expression on her face informs me to stand close to the wall.
I move next to the doorway. I lift my foot and start to fall over. I grab onto the doorway with both hands. It takes all my strength to keep that one foot in the air. I glance behind me. Everyone is easily balancing on one foot. Really? I’m working as hard as I can to balance on one foot with a death grip on the door frame. Thankfully, the door frame is well constructed. The instructor tells us that we can teach our brain to help us balance. I vow to practice every day.
A couple of years ago, when we were in Hawaii, the hotel we stayed at offered a yoga class on surfboards out on the water. We watched the people in the class perform various yoga poses, including standing on their head. I consider that class a challenge in balance, not standing on one foot on a solid surface.
The next day, I convince myself that my lack of balance was an anomaly. I assume a Tai Chi stance in the bedroom and lift my foot. I am able to lift my foot an inch off the ground before I start to fall over. My cat, who has been watching me, runs for shelter. At this moment, I envy her four feet and tail.
I move next to the door frame and discover my new best friend. I lift my foot and discover that I still need two hands to stand erect.
Next up is Gentle Yoga. If this is Gentle Yoga, I would hate to see what advanced yoga is like. I discover muscles I never knew I had. Warrior 2 and I’m struggling to find balance using two feet. Time to balance on one foot. Joy. The instructor tells me I can use a block to help me balance. I choose a stylish purple foam block, instead of the boring tan cork block. I lift my foot and knock the block over. Hm. I lift the block and knock it over again. I lower the block and finally get my foot on it. At this point, everyone has been balancing for a couple of minutes with one foot in the air. The purple stylish block is bending in half because I’m putting all my weight on it. I start to topple over. My foot goes down to the ground and telepathically informs me that is where it’s going to stay.
I realize that over the past few years, my ability to balance has been diminishing. This explains my inability to prevent myself from falling if I trip. For the past six weeks, I have been diligently working on balancing each and every day. My brain is a slow learner when it comes to balancing, however, I am no longer affixed to the door frame. I can hold my foot in the air to the count of four.
I have also discovered that my ability to balance life’s day-to-day activities have improved as well. I feel more in control of my body and that has translated into my ability to handle other situations. My husband and I encourage each other to attend classes and practice balancing. The classes we attend are welcoming and non competitive. I never dreamed that the simple act of balancing was such an integral part of my life.