One of the first assignments in my grad program was to develop my future vision for myself - 2, 5, 10, 20 years out and beyond. I've done this type of project before but, for some reason, this was the first time that it actually meant anything to me.
Maybe the time was just right. Maybe it's maturity. Maybe it was my current life circumstance. Maybe it's a matter of increased self awareness. Whatever the reason, for once the vision actually felt attainable.
When I began the vision, I found a picture to ground me. At the end of it all, what did I want my life to look like? This was the picture...
The picture has a whole story attached to it in my mind... a 70-some year old sage that travels the country telling stories and does yoga next to the ocean in the process. It is freedom, flexibility, aging gracefully, wisdom. I knew, however, if I was going to become this sage, I was going to have to make some drastic changes in my health. The Tiny Tummy was already in the works - flexibility became the cause du jour.
I had dabbled in yoga a bit here and there, taking a Yin class at a local studio a few years ago. I was the only person under age 60 in the class and one of two of three that wasn't recovering from a broken hip. But it's what worked for a 302 pound body that got winded tying a pair of shoes.
And it was awesome. After the class ended I bought bolsters and blankets and diagrams so I could continue the practice at home. Which I did... twice.
Last year I decided to start again. I downloaded a yoga app and started practicing by myself at home where I could do modified poses without the judgmental eye of thin, young, nimble yogis everywhere. One of the poses in the flow I started with was Eye of the Needle. Looks simple enough, right? Unless you have a gut. Lots and lots of gut. And lots and lots of thigh. I did the modified pose and pretended I was okay with it.
Fast forward one year and to my 2016 resolution to take me and my body on twelve adventures - twelve things I haven't been able to do in a long time - or ever - because of my weight. I choose contorting myself into Eye of the Needle as my first adventure because flexibility feels like a damn prophetic way to kick off a year of undertaking twelve new feats.
On January 2nd I decided to give Eye of the Needle a try - to see how far I had to go. And, lo' and behold, my hands slid right around my thighs without any effort at all. It hadn't occurred to me that the ten inches I had lost off my hips and the four inches off of my thighs would make it infinitely easier to perform this "monumental" feat. There's a story in here about becoming reacquainted with my new body, but I digress...
So, mission accomplished! Right?
Well, not really. Technically, the pose was never really the point - it was just symbolic of the real adventure... integrating yoga into my life on a regular basis. And maybe even doing it in public.
Which, by the way, I also did.
But that, and the bodily function that punctuated the experience, are stories for another day.