There is no joy in warball

            One of the good things for me about doing yoga is the non-competitiveness of it. I have spent a lot of my life feeling klutsy and bad at sports, and I finally have found a way to move my body where I’m not at risk of losing. When I was in middle school, I was placed in an “adaptive P.E.” class. It was me, another similarly clumsy smart girl, and 2 older kids with Down Syndrome. We threw balls at targets, walked on balance beams, caught bean bags. It was awful, as if regular P.E.,  they gave it to me as an intervention. I remember feeling so frustrated. That clumsy 12 year old is sometimes alarmingly close to the surface of my everyday adult life. I cried a few weeks ago in Yoga class, because I couldn’t do “Dancer’s Pose”- which is where you stand up, reach back, kick your foot up and grab it, then lean forward, balancing. 

Step one, reach back, step two, find your foot...can I go back to step one again...

 That physically retarded (can I use that phrase? probably not)  12 year-old-swam up to the surface, and I wound up just bawling in child’s pose for a while.

After I got myself back together, I got up and finished the class.

I went to class the next week though, and managed to find my foot after asking for help from Kristin, who’s awesome. I’m still not great at the balancing part, but I get stronger every time.

            I had a realization today, in the shower (don’t all great realizations come in the shower?) that I shouldn’t be doing yoga to get better for next week’s class, but to get better for life. See,  when I couldn’t find my stupid foot, I made plans to practice holding my foot back, grabbing it, leaning forward, then I felt guilty when I didn’t follow that plan. A lifetime of experience with gym teachers gave me the idea that I should throw balls at targets to improve my eye hand coordination, or do squats to have stronger glutes, or run faster so that I can … run faster.

            I need to try to keep the idea before me that I walk because walking helps me think, and dancing is fun, and riding a bike feels good, and yoga gives me peace.  I can’t blame the gym teachers- maybe they were trying to teach me this all along, and I wasn’t ready for it. They found joy in war ball? doing the shuttle run gave them time to think, doing jumping jacks brought them peace? Maybe.

            So, what is your favorite way to move your body now? What did you hate in gym class?  Bonus points if the answer is the same, but the attitude has changed… 


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Felecia
    Nov 17, 2010 @ 22:38:40

    You called it something so nice…you called it “adaptive.” I often tell my husband, “You know how they have Special Ed? Well, I had to take special PHYS ed!” He thinks I’m strange…I wonder if this is why I have such an aversion to exercise…at least exercise while anyone is WATCHING. At least you are taking a class. GO YOU! Exercise classes are totally out of the question for me…nobody can watch me sweat.

    When I went through the divorce from my first hubs, I was in the gym HOURS a day. I called it my “anger management plan.” Workouts totally kept me centered, grounded and gave me something to do instead of driving to his house and getting arrested for disorderly conduct.

    I still have nightmares about that damn rope climb in Mr. Mencin’s PE Class. Its taken me 28+ years to get the understanding that my problem was lack of upper body strength and bad form rather than what I thought it was at the time – which was that I was too fat to be able to pull myself up. I think before you make somebody climb a rope for the Presidential Fitness Award, you should TEACH THEM HOW to climb the stupid rope…its way easier than just hanging a rope in the gym and saying “CLIMB! YOU HAVE 60 SECONDS!!!”

    And all this to say…I think I’m still damaged goods all these years later from having the announcement come over the flippin’ loudspeaker in my class room: “Felecia K, Susan and CONNIE please report to the gym.” ugh…

    In happier news, I’ve come to understand that I actually have decent hand-eye coordination. My problem was BAD EYES!! Once I got glasses, it all sort of worked itself out…not that I’m signing up for any community basketball games….


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