2012.01.04 Stretching into the new year with Dr. Oz

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

A headline on the cover of the AARP magazine caught my eye on New Year’s Eve. 

“Dr. Oz: 24 hours to a Longer Life!” Except for the bit about getting up at 6 a.m., there were some great suggestions in the article. One that I latched on to right away and resolved to do starting the next day was performing seven minutes of yoga every morning.

Long ago, I traveled to Adrian with a group of Morenci women to take a yoga class. I don’t remember much about it besides the little bean bags the instructor placed on our foreheads as we all laid there stretched out on our backs during the cool down phase of the class. It was such a relaxing experience.

I don’t remember why I never continued with it...but we do have a yoga book in the house, one David gave Rosie for Christmas in 1994, called “Yoga for Children.” I figured that was just my speed and a great way to get back into yoga. 

I randomly opened the book to page 50, to a pose called Fan which looked extremely easy—the photo showed a mom and her daughter sitting on the floor with their legs spread out. 

“I can do that!” I said aloud.

“Sit with your legs wide apart and the knees straight and your shoulders relaxed and down.…”

And then I sat down...and I could not do that...not much at all.

Well, pushing it to my limit, I could get my legs into about a 90 degree angle, whereas the mom and daughter looked like they were approaching 180 degrees.

I read on, “For some people this first position may be enough of a stretch in itself to begin with.”

I laughed thinking it was a stretch to even say I was doing yoga and flipped to the front of the book, where the first pose shows people just standing.

Now that, that I know I can do.

By then, David had downloaded a yoga app onto his iPad and the serious work began.

In short little videos, a woman showed how to do the poses. 

“Dang, she moves so fast! Is this why you don’t think I’ll be able to operate a Segway?” I asked.

We’re heading to Savannah soon for a wedding and I thought the “Segway of Savannah” tours I’d stumbled upon on-line looked like a lot of fun. David wasn’t interested. He said something about looking like dorks. He already tried a Segway when he did a story a few years ago on some people riding one across America. He thought I’d have a hard time operating one. “They’re kind of tricky,” he said.

He’s probably right, but there are so many interesting looking sites I’d like to visit in Savannah; doing so on a Segway seems like the best method. We could get around quickly, maximizing the number of sites we’d see and wouldn’t get tired out walking. Heck, we could use the extra time saved doing yoga.

I kept looking longingly back to the “Yoga for Children” book spread open on the couch to the Mountain pose (“Stand with your feet slightly apart and parallel. Keep your legs straight, weight on your heels, and toes spread out.…”) 

I could so do that I kept saying to myself as David tapped the iPad screen and the woman on the video whizzed through the movements of Half Moon.

“Play that again,” I said as I tried to mentally process what she had just done.

We moved through a bunch of poses...Low Lounge, Table, Greeting, Chair, Triangle, Easy Crow. With David’s guidance, I could at least attempt them. Then it started getting tricky. 

“Are you sure this is beginner yoga?” I had asked that several times already, but when the lady started doing the Tree, I figured David must be leaping ahead. I flipped to the next page in the “Yoga for Children” book and dang, wouldn’t you know it? The Tree pose was next. I don’t see how a beginner could be expected to accomplish this.

“Stand up straight as in Mountain pose.... Keep your left leg straight....take your right foot and place it high on the inside of your left thigh...”

Heck, I could barely place it low on my knee.

“...put the palms of your hand together. Slowly raise your arms above your head like tree branches.…”

Like tree branches blowing in a storm is what I looked like. 

It reminded me of a photo in my high school yearbook taken of Joanne Miceli in a musical production. Her right leg is extended perpendicular to her body, parallel to the floor and the caption reads, “What do you mean, lift the other leg?”

I think I should probably move on to a few of Dr. Oz’s other recommendations. Eat oatmeal and eggs for breakfast, don’t eat sugar, eat berries, eat fish, walk outside and get some vitamin D...I can easily handle those.

But “Go to bed by 10 p.m.”? Now, that’s a real stretch.

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