When I was young, it was all easy. I could eat whatever I wanted without putting on an ounce. I could spend the weekend alternately riding my horse, scoffing G&Ts and bouncing up and down on the supine and supple body of a second footman, and front up on Monday morning for work without an ache or a care. I was, in short, young.
Now I’m older (and I’m not telling a lot of you anything you haven’t experienced yourself), it’s all a lot more difficult. If I wished to make myself depressed, I could start at the base of my feet and work my way upwards cataloging for you all the bits that don’t work as well as they used to, or which have entirely given up the ghost – all the aches and pains and twinges that I’ve collected over the years.
Thankfully, I have discovered the joys of yoga. It has a reputation as the easy option – there’s no huffing and puffing, no throwing around of weights, no backbreaking labor. However, it gets you moving in ways you may not have moved before, it allows you to build up the flexibility and strength of your body, and you can get a decent workout without worrying about throwing out your back or pulling a hamstring. Anyone who scoffs at the fitness benefits of yoga has probably never spent an hour doing it properly.
There a few things more wonderful than stretching out all those kinks and feeling some of those aches melt away, particularly if (as I am) you are lucky enough to do so under the tutelage of a buff ex-marine who can lick his own toes in seventeen different positions.
If you’re not so lucky, then you might wish to have a look at the youtubes, where there are literally hundreds of free yoga lessons for the taking.
Sadly, many of the yoga videos you might find call themselves “beginner” lessons, but consist of a nubile twenty year old throwing herself into thirty different poses from downward dog within fifteen minutes which is, for many of us, a recipe for disaster.
If you think yoga might be worth a try, make sure you find a real beginner’s program – one which starts with the very basics like standing and breathing and then builds up to a more challenging workout. Alluring though it might be to watch a co-ed tying herself into knots, a good idea is to look for someone who looks like they might not still be in school and who understands that things need to be explained and taken carefully, at least at the start.
A good example, I have found, is the nice Dutch lady at the top of this page.
Have at it.