I resisted yoga for years, but now I’m not entirely sure why. I’m stiff and not very limber and since I really don’t like to exercise, I guess I always figured high-impact = greater rewards. Why waste time on glorified stretching? But here’s the thing. I was wrong.
I’ve been having so much trouble with my left arm. I’m pretty sure I hurt myself at the gym, even though I can’t remember a specific moment or move that led to an injury. I can no longer reach behind me to hook a bra and it feels like I’ve lost most of the mobility and flexibility I gained in PT. I mentioned this to one of the women in my breast cancer support group and she nodded her head in solidarity — or at least I think she nodded her head. We were texting at the time. But here’s the thing: we are vulnerable, with all the scar tissue and everything under the skin that was moved around, prodded and scraped, and reattached during surgery. Even my chest aches, up by my collarbones, it’s tight and constricted. It hurts to sneeze.
So I put my trainer at the gym on hold and signed up for a one week trial at a local yoga studio. I had to modify some of the workout yesterday. I can’t plank or downward dog or put any weight or pressure on my upper body. At least not yet. But the stretching? Holy wow I needed that. I put myself on the schedule for four classes this week.
I only have about two weeks between now and our summer in California. But there’s a yoga studio in the village near our house in LA. I can walk there. I think I’ve settled on my summer fitness plan. My focus will be stretching and bending, and trying to let that arm heal so it can move in the right way. I hope to spend a lot of time in the pool and a couple early mornings a week walking up into the foothills. Hopefully I’ll feel well enough when we get back to NY that I won’t need to ask my doctor to write me a script for more PT, though I guess there are worse things.
I want this summer to be restorative, relaxing, and yoga fits right into that hope. I feel like I’m in a good place emotionally, keeping the worries and fears down and back. I’m finding the balance in my life, and so maybe this is one more step in that process. As I left class yesterday, the instructor gave me a hug. “Remember, it’s a journey,” she said. “You’ll get there.”