I haven't written for awhile about the daily yoga practice that has become another new habit in this fortieth year. This habit shares a basic commonality with the writing habit: small, daily effort adds up over time. When I started writing Astrid's story, I couldn't envision creating a book-length story. And as of this week, I have! A page a day really did turn into a book draft.
Since I last wrote about yoga, touching my toes has become a regular occurrence. I took a class at my beloved yoga studio recently. Before class, I sat on my mat with my legs stretched straight before me. To my utter surprise, I leaned forward and touched my toes! This wasn't possible the last time I was on my mat in class. I laughed at my surprise because at home I was regularly touching my toes from a standing position. Why wouldn't it follow that I could do it seated? This seated discovery was such a boost.
It took about four or five months for touching my toes without major discomfort to happen. The daily yoga has taught me patience with the process and believing that the results will come in due time. My hamstrings have been tight since I was a ballet dancer in elementary school. Why would I suppose they would untangle overnight, just because I want them to? I could actually check off #4 Improve forward bends from the 4040 list now because they definitely have improved, but I know that the forward bends will continue to improve with even more time.
In April, I forgot to do the daily yoga on two occasions two weeks apart. I made up for them both on the following days by doing eight sun salutations. But I must admit I relied heavily on my word-of-2015 GENTLE on those days. I had to really talk my way through my disappointment. I eventually remembered that focusing on the few days I missed was missing the bigger point. A year before I didn't have a home yoga practice at all. Missing a few days here and there does not undo all that I've accomplished. I missed one more day in May. I took a breath, did eight to make up for the day before, and moved on.
The blank calendar page, just like the blank computer screen, no longer scares me. It is an invitation to enjoy what is to come, day-by-day. Now that the forward bend is coming along well, I've been working on improving the still-very-painful half lift. I can see and feel a change in this position, which seemed impossible only months ago. I look forward to measuring this progress and reporting on it in the coming months.
My body image has experienced a change too. I'm still skinny, but now when I assess my body, I see the effects of daily yoga: my arms and legs have definition; my once-pregnant belly is toned and defined in a way it never was before. I see strength where I once believed there was weakness. I know I walk with more confidence. I move in the world differently. What a gift to myself in my 40th year!
The bottom line is that this daily yoga is not going away when the 4040 list is complete. It's a productive, restorative five minutes spent each day. I am celebrating being the healthiest, most fit I've ever been, which is pretty cool to say at 40. The celebration does indeed continue!