I’ve been blessed with amazing health in my life, and until I was about 25, I didn’t even work out. When I met my husband, who is 10 years older, he worked out every night after work. I had few hobbies at 25, so I started working out too. I started by running and moved to tennis a few years later when friends of ours wanted to play.
I started tennis with a trampoline racquet that was a hand me down from my husband. I didn’t have the right shoes. A lifetime of avoiding athletics made me a poor athlete with an angry mindset. I didn’t know how to relax. I threw racquets. I had no money for lessons, but I kept playing. I supplemented my tennis with yoga and weights using DVDs I picked up online.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m a regular in a social match at our favorite club. I play USTA matches and advanced to a national championship with my husband a few years ago. I now take lessons. I no longer throw racquets. I smile on court. I’ve turned myself into a competent tennis player.
However, all last spring, I was coming off court with tight achilles tendons. I knew I needed to add yoga back into my regular workout, and I started working out with Rodney Yee DVDs that I stored on my hard drive. I do one particular practice religiously. Nearly every night and some mornings.
What is great about yoga is the gentle progress you make. Do the same workout every day like I do, and you’ll notice changes quickly.
My one downside is that my favorite dog can’t join me. While she follows me like a shadow, she chews the mat, bites my ears, and pulls my hair anytime my head nears the floor during a practice. I started distracting her with toys and only locking her out of the room as a last resort. Gradually, she played along until just this week I could complete a practice until she collapsed near my head to chew my ear during final relaxation.
Rather than get annoyed, I pulled her onto my chest and just listened to her breathing as I enjoyed corpse pose. It was a modification but a welcome one. It reminded me of my early playing days and the unrealistic expectations I set for myself after picking up a racquet for the first time. I expected her to relax as I set about contorting my body for 30 minutes. It was a high bar.
All good things come with effort and patience. She’ll join me more often and for longer periods until my machinations no longer trouble her. Patience. Kindness. They’re the keys to everything.