Listen to Your Body

At yoga class today, I heard my teacher say her oft-repeated mantra: Listen to your body. She cautions us to not push ourselves in ways that make our bodies hurt. Should we feel any strain or discomfort, we need to back off. As she puts it, “Listen to your body when it’s whispering so you don’t have to listen to it scream.”

I started exercising in earnest less than five years ago when I had just turned sixty. I have never been an athlete in any sense of the word. Physical Education was my scariest subject. Give me a frog or a cat to dissect, and I was a happy camper, but send me to P.E. and my heart fluttered and my knees were weak. I was that kid in gym class who covered her face when the ball came towards her. Yeah, that kid. The last person to be picked for any team. It was a real stretch for me to start yoga four and a half years ago.

In class today, one of my classmates came up to me and started talking about how bad her knees are and how hard it is for her to do some of the poses. “I hate what getting old does to my body, don’t you?” I wanted to be a team player (the Old People Team), so I commiserated with her. But in reality, I’m thinking how much I love what getting older has done for my body. I actually feel better now than I’ve felt in a long time. I walk everywhere, I go to the Y three times a week, do yoga twice there and sometimes another time at home, and am contemplating taking Zumba tone (Zumba with weights). Yes, my knees are slightly arthritic and I can’t do squats, I’m not very flexible, though yoga has helped, and I don’t have the range of motion in my shoulders I once had. But as I listen to my body, it’s telling me that I’ve done a good thing for it by joining the YMCA and exercising and being faithful to my yoga practice.

It’s also telling me to get kick-boxing out of my mind.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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22 Responses to Listen to Your Body

  1. dorannrule says:

    Where are you Susan? I have missed seeing your blog posts. I hope everything is all right.

  2. Pingback: Part of a Great Community (blogging award) | Learn More Everyday

  3. Jiawei says:

    Very impressive how much you exercise each week! I have been trying to get myself to a yoga class for the last three years, still no luck. I did try a personal trainer a while ago, had to quit, she costs too much, 300rmb/hr, that is US$50/hr. Any idea if it costs that much (or more) in the U.S.?
    I hope my body doesn’t scream out one day, scary thought!

  4. pattisj says:

    “A real stretch to start yoga–” LOL Hope you’re having a great time. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Gede Prama says:

    Thank you… @ ^_^
    kindness blossoms in your heart

  6. Huffygirl says:

    And I thought I was the only kid in gym class covering her eyes when the ball came to me! Seriously, I think the fitness world had become much friendlier to people of all ages and abilities than it was years ago. When I was in gym class, all our exercise consisted of calisthenics and playing sports, and mostly sports with balls. So if you couldn’t catch or throw a ball, you were considered “unfit.” Now, exercise can be whatever one wants it so be – sports, running, yoga, biking, step aerobics, etc. Much better for us that way, and much more inclusive. I guess you can tell I’ve had this pent up resentment about gym class for a looonnnnggg time.

  7. I try to ‘listen to my body’ but, unfortunately, it just keeps singing, “The old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be.” :) I’ve been pondering enrolling in yoga for some time now; since I just hit the big 6-0, I think I’ll move it up to #1 on my list of ‘must-dos’. Inspiring post. Thanks.

    • Coming East says:

      Funny comment! Yes, you must try yoga. Your doctor will tell you it is a wonderful thing for everyone, but especially people our age. Helps stave off osteoporosis, among other things.

  8. Robin says:

    Sounds like you have a fantastic routine! It’s funny, I think about this often: the fact that I love and adhere to exercise, but am I really an athlete? Because so much of what I read about staying fit is lumped into the category of those who are. I have come to the conclusion I’m not an athlete…want nothing to do with running or cycling or team sports…but don’t want to be ” in the old people team”, like your friend If ensuring flexibility and strength is the way to make that happen? Sign me up! And sounds like you are similar. You I’m sure are a great inspiration for the newbies in your class….

  9. notquiteold says:

    I SO agree with you. My body is better now at 62 than it has ever been.I’m not young, but for the first time, I love what my body can do.

  10. Amy says:

    That’s encouraging to know the physical improvement you can make through exercise. It take some discipline to do it routinely. Do you still do Tai chi?

    • Coming East says:

      No, I don’t do Tai Chi anymore because the teacher was too much of a perfectionist and made the class not enjoyable. Now it is at a time when I can’t go anyway. Plus, I have no place big enough to practice at home, whereas I can do yoga in my bedroom.

  11. lulu says:

    I just got home from Pilates and my body is telling me it’s feeling the pain! BTW, I’ve heard Zumba is great fun and you don’t have to be super anything to do it.

    • Coming East says:

      There isn’t a Pilates class that is convenient for me…thank goodness! I’ve heard that in Zumba, if you can’t keep up, you can do your own thing. The key is to keep moving. I can do that.

  12. Dianna says:

    Oh, you’re making me feel so guilty: I haven’t been on my morning walks in over 2 months. And this is such a difficult time of year to keep going, much especially start back up after a break. I love your yoga class teacher’s motto; it’s one to remember.
    And I was always the last kid to be picked for any team too…. the most unathletic kid in class.

  13. Great! I’m a yoga addict.. try to get there about 2-3 x a week. W/o yoga, I wouldn’t be able to bike.

  14. HA!! I have to remember the listen to your body thing in yoga sometimes. I am listening to it scream today because I twisted too far in a pose yesterday. I’ve always been into weights and recently running and mentally always wanted to ‘push’ myself. Yoga is a different ball game and it’s teaching me to be gentle to flow to not push….but sometimes I forget. owies.

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