Last Monday was my brother's fifth birthday. Since my mom had to work third shift the night before (she's a nurse), I took over most of his birthday preparations. How sad would it be if no one made him a cake or wrapped his presents?
Here he is with the beautiful cake that I had fun making even though I didn’t eat any:
Last night, I was doing my Yoga for Back Care DVD with Rodney Yee. I have come to accept that I won't be able to do regular yoga. At least any time soon. I won't be able to do all those flexible configurations, those complicated poses that require a bendy body. My body is not bendy. Not like it used to be when I was a runner and before I herniated a disc in my lower back/spine. There is now a stiffness in my legs that I can't fully straighten, and I'm not going to try. For a long time, I was afraid to do anything about my back stretching wise. I didn't want to tear/hurt/dislocate anything. I didn't (and don't) want to do any bending forward movements since that is what I had done when my disc tore. I was bending over to pick up a dirty sock. My back was already in a fragile place to begin with. The bending movement only shoved me over the edge.
So I have only recently begun taking care of my back in an active, stretchy way in a hope to strengthen it and prevent future injury. Rodney Yee's yoga routine for the back really helps. His poses are simple and they target the muscles of the back to loosen and relax them. If anything doesn't feel right, I don't do it. But mostly, all the poses stretch me in a gentle way, making me fluid and mindful of my back, spine, and entire body.
I don't do my back yoga until the evening or pretty close to when I am going to bed. I tried to do it in the morning once, but I still felt way too tight. I need the day time to loosen up slowly and then the yoga at night helps me to relax and let go of the stress I have accumulated. I think it helps me sleep better too.
Last night, while doing my yoga, Ben comes into my room. I have a big double bed, and he usually shares it with me after I read him a story. It's a nightly ritual that sometimes is an annoying habit, but sometimes I don't mind either. So he comes in, ready for his story, and I tell him to wait quietly until I am finished with my stretching. He sits cross-legged on the bed and watches the DVD. Then he starts doing the poses too. It was the cutest thing ever to glance over and see a little 5-year old doing yoga stretches.
Eventually he came to the floor to do them along with me. And then he said, "I need a comfy mat too." So I shared my mat with him. I don't know how relaxing and mindful I was at that point because I couldn't help laughing at his sincere attempts to do some of the poses. But surprisingly, he followed along pretty well. Once, he said, “You make it look so easy.” (Ha!) And another time, “Are all of these supposed to stretch the spine or something?” (Yup) Anyway, he’s a cutie, and he’s always my entertainment.