Strength and Age

Given that I have two tests this week (Psych’s done!), I planned for a pretty homebody-like weekend. To prep for such a lame 48 hours?

Bikram yoga.

The result of an impulsive purchase off of Groupon, my yoga obsession, and two sedentary days in clinical (it’s Psych, so patient interaction is mainly done sitting and talking). Bikram yoga is a style of yoga that consists of 26 postures done in 90 minutes in a 105 degree “torture chamber”. Last Friday it was about 68 degrees out, which is pretty cool for my equator-adapted blood, and Bikram yoga was a welcome relief. I would definitely recommend trying out a class. The postures are made for beginners but as in every style of yoga class, you’re encouraged to take child’s pose (my fav) whenever you lose your breath. I think the heat really freaks people out which makes this seem pretty extreme, but it really helps loosen up your muscles and suddenly you gain the ability to twist yourself into a pretzel stick (i.e. eagle pose). Personally, the super hot and humid room reminded me of home and I welcomed it.

What I really enjoyed seeing was the variety of people there. The instructor is a 20 something man, thin with a muscular build, wearing shorts that rival the shortness of Soffies – what you would normally picture someone doing yoga for a living looks like. BUT you also had the middle aged and visibly exhausted from a long day at work crowd. The size, shape, and ethnicity varied greatly too. Honestly, I didn’t expect to see this type of a crowd at an “extreme” yoga class. It was a pleasant surprise and inspiring to see someone older than my mom completing the class next to me. Also, being a hot yoga class, one can imagine the dress code to be far from modest – the only rule was “no bikinis”. The room was filled with about 20 half-naked sweaty people, yet everyone seemed very comfortable showing off as much skin that’s legally possible.

Whenever I see an “older adult” participating and excelling at the physical activities that I’m doing, it gives me hope. I feel that before this semester I used to be terrified of getting old because I associated old age with¬† frailty, dependency, and incontinence. But after learning in class that those things are not a normal part of aging, and being more aware of my surroundings, my feelings are starting to change. I’m no longer terrified, but rather taking precautions. Now more than ever I see the importance of my own personal health. How you treat your body now affects you more than trying to play catch up later, when you’re middle age and realize that you’re heart isn’t fit enough for base diving (which of course I bet we’re all planning on doing after 70, right?). I’m making a commitment to further lessen my consumption of processed and free food (have you noticed that free food is never good for you?) and stay on a consistent exercise routine – no matter how crazy this program gets.

The end result will hopefully be none of the issues encountered in last week’s Older Adults class. We simulated the older adult experience – which involved funky glasses, beans, tied shoelaces, and a couple other random things – like lube. Photo re-cap:

The profile for an older adult: loss of hearing, vision problems, circulation problems in the hands and feet, slow movement, but with a smile and a good attitude. Thank you Grandma Christa!
And then we made the visually impaired try to read tiny script text a foot away.
Or they cheated when I distracted their nurse for a photo op.

 

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