April 2018

Thursday, October 14, 2010

P.S. 6 I could have been a boy scout.

Yoga hs been one of the constancies on either side of the semi-colon in the sentence that is my life (not like a prison sentence--like nouns and verbas and lots of parentheses). Before brain surgery, I did a sun salutation every morning. Right after surgery, when I was still in the hospital bed, I did hospital bed yoga: any posture or stretch I could think of that I could do lying down was my daily exercise.

Now that I'm home and walking but still uneasy with my balance, I do lying down and sitting up yoga every morning. Mostly, I do a sun salutation minus tree pose (where a person stands like a tree on one leg--the way all trees stand), and minus triangle pose or anything else that might make me fall and bump my head. I've added to the routine poses that stretch my back and my neck, a kind of rehab yoga.

Not only does the yoga serve to stretch my body and to center me, but it also reminds of the calm within myself, a place that I can access when anxiety--about falling or about being unable to work or about dying--sets in.

I feel lucky to have found such a discipline before my brain tumors. So much was in place for me before brain tumors: a loving partner and family, a variety of experiences in my vocation, a supportive church community, an amazing group of friends, Storm allegiance and other past-times.

Of a paranoid imagination, I have always tried to prepare for hard times. Like the boy scouts, I have pledged to be prepared. Before surgery, I biked all over town, partly because I loved it, and partly because I knew a car battery would die in the event of a nuclear attack (I didn't go so far as to figure out the breathing part); I'd work to strenghten my upper body in case one day I couldn't use my legs; I've always saved as much as I can for retirmement, in case Social Security runs out (this, I don't think, is paranoid); I hiked up rocky trails with my teeth clenched, so that if I fell I would not bite off my tongue.
I know some Christians talk about preparing for the afterlife, but if nothing's gone really wrong for you yet, I'd suggest you prepare for the unknowns of this like. Yoga's a good place to start, for now and for later.

Of course, last weekend the local newspaper reported that the local minister of a megachurch said that doing yoga is like inviting in little demons. The minister's logic went like this: yoga's parent is Hinduism, a religion that, in this enlightened minister's opinion, worships many gods and is therefore pagan and ergo evil.  I wonder where journalists go to find and report such wisdom.


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