“Why is it that I always marry women who nag me to exercise for my own good?”
I smiled in that way I know is adorable and replied,
“You are just a lucky man, I guess.”
After a year of practicing yoga while simultaneously cajoling my husband to follow in my limbering footsteps, a set of shoulders so stiff they impeded neck motion finally persuaded him to don his sweats and join me on the mats and begin the task of unlocking his upper back.
Several days into our new nightly routine, as I was readjusting his arms in a pose, I asked,
“How does that feel? Better?”
He looked me in the eye and calmly said,
“I have never been in so much pain.”
For the first time in well over three years, I can move my shoulder blades without sending my upper back into vise like spasms that radiate out through my chest, and I really owe much of this to yoga. And like all born-agains, I want to share the enlightenment with everyone I know but my husband, being captive, is the main recipient. Fortunately he is a patient one but he has been a hard sell never the less.
Rob has had back trouble most of his adult life and like most of us, he gutted out what he could and band-aided the rest with over the counter pain killers, ice, heat and chiropractors.
The last being something I have reluctantly indulged in at different periods of my life but never got fully comfortable with because I hate being cracked. It scares the stuffing out of me and it hurts like heck to boot. And now that I have spent some time incorporating yoga moves and ideas into my life I have come to think that, without flexibility of muscle and ligament, forcing a bone or joint into a position it isn’t inclined to stay in, is a waste of time and money.
At least that is my theory and the tack I took with Rob when I set about to convince him that he needed to do something proactive about unknotting himself.
So there we sat on the living room floor with Kat bouncing around us, waiting for the real yoga to begin. In our yoga enthusiastic town, the local instructors begin recruiting in the elementary schools by teaching mini-lessons at all the grade levels once a year.
“When are we going to do the dog, Mom? I am very good at the dog and the tree, but you have to do the mountain before the tree.”
What she is not good at is sitting on her mat.
“What’s first, Teach?” Rob asked.
So we started with shoulders and worked our way down our trunks. It was quite a different point of view for me. Rob astounds me with his grace and agility when we go skating at our hamlet’s ice arena every Sunday afternoon. He is one with the ice and the decades spent playing hockey clearly show because he fairly dances around me and Kat, chiding her for her slowness in that teasing way dad’s possess and wondering how I manage to look like a drunken stork.
But on the mat, his muscular form does not fold or bend or even twist all that much.
“I feel like a fat old man when I see you assume the position with such ease,” he remarked after one practice. Which I found funny because I don’t feel agile or at ease at all when I practice. I feel encased in a stiff, chunky form that refuses to bend to my will – which is somewhat how I feel on skates too.
After nearly a week’s worth of practice our massage therapist was willing to admit she saw ever so slight an improvement in Rob’s upper back and shoulders and even his chiropractor was able to force a crack where there once was immobility. Progress is probably the best motivator regardless of the amount, so another yoga convert begins to bloom in our home.
“I’m beginning to feel something in my belly I haven’t felt in a long while,” he said.
This was an original 50 Something Moms piece.