Photo: Bobby Clennell
Talking about opening the chest, this is what the finished product can look like. This is Carrie Owerko, a senior Iyengar yoga teacher based in New York. Before you go and throw yourself back over a park bench, let me tell you why you don’t actually need to.
We are all predisposed to different kinds of exercise.
In the last couple of days, while talking about self-care, I’ve realized again how important it is to stay true to yourself and your own predispositions. Those predisposed to outright laziness and self-neglect, that’s another thing, but if you aspire to take better and better care of yourself, you have to do it your way.
I love yoga just about more than anything, really.
I believe that yoga is the best exercise, for most people, most of the time.
But I would never tell anyone to do yoga,
if they had tried it and ended up hating it. (That said, one or two classes is not really enough to know.) Some people are just not predisposed to like yoga, they like Tai Chi.
I’m sure you know people who will continue running until they drop and then insist on being buried in their running shoes.
The thing is, you have to find what you are predisposed to in the areas of both self-care exercise. There are no inappropriate predispositions. If you need to wake up slowly in the morning, and if that works for you, that’s you.
However, as we all know, often times, things stopped working a long time ago but we’re still doing them. All kinds of things shift and so do predispositions. That’s when it’s time to try Tai Chi, try running, and try getting out and changing your location in the morning.
The other occasion in which you have to ditch all of this “just do you” stuff, is when your predispositions are actually hurting you.
Sometimes the exercise that we don’t want to do, stretching for example, is precisely the exercise we need to be doing.
If your body is stiff, and you love to run, and you don’t have time because you’re a hard-driving lawyer or business woman, and you don’t believe you’ll like any other exercise, you have predispositions you need to address. And it’s probably more than just your hamstrings that are inflexible.
Remember that sweater, my perfect sweater? Well forget that one! Here’s my new, favorite sweater, in my kind of color. And again, it’s by M.Patmos. More sweaters to come.
“The flexibility we gain in asana is the living symbol of the suppleness we gain in relation to life’s problems and challenges.”
Last night, I ended up in the kind of New York loft, on the kind of New York street, with the kind of New York people who I thought only existed on film these days. Ok, Luis here, one of our hosts, is Spanish. But that’s New York, the mix.
Much wonderful tapas was eaten, stories were told, and this wonderful grappa liquid fire concoction was drunk. I forget the name of the drink and the ritual (hmmm), but I promise to report back to let you know.