Splitting Hairs

going deeper

Seventeen Again

Break from politics here … there will be endless subjects to chew on in that domain.  Today’s post is about the extraordinary yoga class I took at midday.

Background: I started doing yoga about 15 years ago. I now do it twice a week. I do a “power” class that is physically challenging.

Yoga fosters strength, balance, flexibility, and flow, as well as emotional equanimity. It’s a wonderful practice for aging slowly.

The power classes last for an hour. They are slightly heated. By the middle of class, I am sweating profusely and am quite warmed up.

Today I am 53. At the start of these classes, I feel 73. I don’t physically feel like doing yoga.

Typically, about midway through the class, though, I feel 17 again. The feeling usually lasts for only a couple of minutes.

When I was 17, I was physically mature, but not yet injured. I defied gravity. I could leap to touch a basketball rim with my elbow. My male, um, stuff, could hit the ceiling. I memorized Pi to 1000 decimal places. My dominant mental state was absolute certainty in my human potency.

At 17, all roads were endless, I was immortal, and so was everyone that I loved and every relationship that mattered to me.

My past 36 years on this planet have been about giving most of that back.

Today, at 53, I’m holding onto only a small fraction, and I can sense the mass getting lighter by the day.

But I didn’t know any of that at 17. It was a nice illusion to be living under.

Which brings me to today’s yoga class. Normally, the teachers (most of them are 20- or 30-somethings) play music. Normally the music is contemporary and/or Hindi.

But today, the teacher played ’60s and ’70s rock (CSNY, Boston, Jefferson Airplane, Eagles, etc.).

Twenty minutes into the class, we were holding a yoga “chair” position. I said to the teacher: “In this pause I’d like to say something: Thanks for playing your dad’s music today.” The teacher, surprised, responded: “Yes, it is my dad’s music.”

After the class, the teacher explained that this was the seventh anniversary of her dad’s death. And she was playing “his” music today to honor him.

For me, once “More Than a Feeling” by Boston came on 15 minutes into the class (the song came out when I was a teenager), I was 17 again. And the feeling lasted 40 minutes this time. I was bouncing to the beat in my warrior poses, banging out 15 pushups in the flow.

Most of the physical caution which with I approach yoga and all other physical exertion today was gone and replaced with the certainty and confidence of my youth.

But of course, I’m not 17 anymore. So, while I was having these energetic sensations, I was also thinking of all the people, relationships, and capabilities that I witnessed being “buried” over the decades.

Amazing how the music of my youth, combined with physical exertion, brought all of this out.

I mean, I’ve been doing yoga for 15 years, and I’ve been listening to classic rock before it was ever considered “classic”.

But today is the first time I had ever done yoga to classic rock. And what an experience it was.

One comment on “Seventeen Again

  1. Kathy Graham
    November 30, 2016

    I experience the same thing when I do Qi Gong to the music of my youth, or inspiring music that breaks my heart wide open from yesteryear.

    I am convinced that daily Qi Gong practice is the most important thing I can do for my health as I age.

    In fact, I couldn’t play basketball for the past few years because of multiple injuries, and every time I tried to play, I felt like I was 80 years old. Since I’ve been doing Qi Gong regularly for the past month, I went back to playing ball, and the first time out, I felt like I was my age – 56. The second time out, I felt like I was 20 again. Big mistake. I tore my pecs and rhomboids doing one too many left hand hook shots and sprinting after 15 year old boys.

    Once I’m all healed up again, I’ll go with back with feeling like I have a 20 year old body, but stay firm in place in my 56 year old brain – not 20 year old brain, and use wisdom to do the things I should and shouldn’t be doing.


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This entry was posted on November 16, 2016 by in exercise, health.



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