Off the Mat

Back when I was really sick, people recommended I take up yoga.  This suggestion annoyed me.  Cancer had broken my back—not once but twice.  Couldn’t they see that bending and stretching was beyond what my body would allow?  

After months of back braces, surgery, and radiation, I moved toward remission and living without a brace.  Again people recommended yoga and again I was annoyed.  I was building strength and logging many miles on my bike—couldn’t they see that I was beyond gentle stretching?  

But the world’s preoccupation with yoga seemed to follow me everywhere, and I finally relented and attended a yoga class offered as part of a weekend retreat.  It was different than I expected, more challenging than I imagined.  And it left me feeling clear-eyed, focused, and calm.  

I considered taking up yoga.

Then a yoga studio opened two blocks from my house.  I took it as a sign and started with a basic vinyasa class.  The class was challenging and rewarding.  My back benefited from the core work.  I gained flexibility and expanded my range of motion.

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