Betty Duffy

(Amateur)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yoga?

While I’m a skeptic of nuns who offer yoga retreats, I don’t think that yoga is incompatible with Christianity (though if this is a conversation anyone wants to have, I'm interested in your comments). So inspired by a college girlfriend who is now an accomplished yogi, I decided to break out my old Brian Kest Power Yoga DVD. It really does work wonders for my back after I’ve had a baby, but having spent the last hour trying to maintain equanimity with my five kids lurking in inconveniently close proximity to me, I’m inclined to think that yoga might be incompatible with motherhood.

Perhaps it was naïve of me to assume that onscreen threats to my children’s chastity were only to be found in public places. I had just stretched into my first down dog when the boys walked into the living room, took one look at the TV and said “EEEEEEW! NAKED PEOPLE!!!!” which was not at all an accurate description of the people on the screen. To be precise, the yogis in Brian Kest’s studio wore a menagerie of monochromatic lycra unisuits. But I can remember a time when I thought bodysuits were synonymous with nudity. I think I had the same reaction the first time I saw Lilias Yoga on PBS.

When the TV is on at our house, it doesn’t matter what program is airing, the kids are like moths to a flame. After the boys recovered from the shock (or maybe because of) seeing so many accentuated body parts, they felt content to sit on the couch and watch as though it were a feature length film. My two-year-old and my four-year-old, however, wanted to interact with me while I exercised, and I get annoyed when people persistently request my attention when I am obviously engaged elsewhere.

My default approach to discipline in times of stress tends to be ignore… ignore… ignore… KILL! So after saying in a very equanimous voice, “Please don’t climb on me” (up dog), “Yes, I see you under there” (down dog), “Careful or I’ll fall on you” (whatever that is where you stand on one leg and hold your other out to the side by the big toe), I finally yelled “Go play tractor!” to my two year old. And surprisingly, he went.

My daughter was trickier to manage. She tried to do the exercises with me until she realized they were challenging. Then she decided she would like to play the role of yoga instructor, which meant imitating Brian Kest as he moves around amongst his students, pushing them into deeper poses, stroking their backs, giving all kinds of smarmy hands-on encouragement (see video).



video



If this makes you uncomfortable to watch, it might give you peace of mind to replace Brian’s character with an angelic little girl, doting on her mother… or it might not. I would have discouraged it, but she felt so important when I told her that during the corpse pose (lying on the floor like a dead person), what she really needed to do was massage my temples and play with my hair: a win-win situation.

Nothing makes me feel healthier than doing some spine-tingling exercise, then cracking open a can of V8.

And if Jazzercise is your thing, Megan provided this excellent link: Click here

7 comments:

Jus said...

The children made a tribute image to you ;)

http://www.duniaduara.com

megan said...

I might have to try this after the baby comes. I have such bad back problems after the c-sections. Why would people think Yoga was not compataible with Christianity? I dont know anything about it. Except now that Im thinking about it Julie said she went to a yoga class at the YMCA and they had them chant weird things like "Mother Earth, Cleanse me" and "I have the power.".

If you get bored with the Yoga, let me recommend this....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGOO8ZhWFR4

megan said...

I didnt realize until i saw the tribute (which was very cute by the way, Jus) that there was a little one on your back Betty. I thought it was your shirt or something. I applaud your patience. The yoga must help with nerves.

Betty Duffy said...

Megan, that chanting is exactly what I'm talking about. I think the exercises themselves are very good for you, but when you get into "I am god" mantras, you're in trouble. Of course, I too know very little about yoga and the origins of the mantras, etc. and if anyone wants to educate me, I'd be glad to know.

Emily said...

Is that Jane and Laurie and their big soft bottoms in that Jazzercize clip? Lookin' fit!.

Andrea said...

I also enjoy yoga for the stretches/breathing etc, but there are some objections to the origins of it. Apparently, the yoga postures are related to Hindu gods and goddesses and pagan worship. They are not simply "feel good" stretches. Now, my opinion is that if you leave the mantras out and simply concentrate on breathing stretching, there isn't harm. But I have been to a yoga class where we were told to be one with the earth etc. So, I'm pretty careful with yoga now. Here's a link to some info. Take it as you will...
http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/yoga.htm

Betty Duffy said...

Thanks for the link Andrea, I'll look into it.