Aged 76 and as the darkening skies over the Thames Valley beckoned the dawning of Covid, I I took up Vinyasa Flow.
Medically I am classified as clinically vulnerable. It sounds awful, I don’t look vulnerable but I have rotten and damaged lungs. I have never smoked but over the years I have been married to two husbands who were chain smokers and I have worked in smoke filled atmospheres. It’s bad luck and at least it hasn’t killed me. There is no cure.
Shut away during the pandemic and no human contact, I had to find a way to exercise which would be beneficial to my lungs. I knew I would be a goner if I got Covid so I had to think within the box and by that I mean my laptop.
The only fresh air I could get was walking round my garden – pretty boring by the 35th time! However my very dear, younger friend Annabel came up with the answer. Yoga…
Due to her introduction, I launched myself into Vinyasa flow on Zoom at the start of the Pandemic. Annabel and the Page Turner had been doing yoga for sometime and swore by it, so I decided to try it. The idea of being able to bend myself into “positions that I’ve never seen advertised“ was more than intriguing!
When I started classes I had no gear so started wearing pull up jeggings and borrowed a moth eaten mat. My online teacher started me off very gently. To be perfect honest I didn’t expect to change my body much but I knew the breathing would really help my poor lungs. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it, so soon I bought some proper gear and a new mat. I took classes three times a week.
Nearly two years later I fully recognise it is probably one of the most sensible things I have ever done in my life (apart from having my children). So saying I have been an appalling judge of many things in the past – not least of husbands – to my cost.
I have always been a complete duffer at sports. It didn’t matter to me whether I won or not and I don’t like being physically uncomfortable or cold. My sons can’t understand my attitude, but there you go – we can’t all be sports men or women. But practising yoga has given me a new spectrum of my life. Not only has my breathing improved considerably, but I am really flexible. No knee or hip problems and, my arms which were always pretty weak (all my strength was in my thighs) are now much stronger.
The lightening change to my body hasn’t happened! I still sadly have a granny tyre around my middle. But I can do plank, stand on one leg for ages, squat like a Chinese amah and twist my body around with ease, giving my gut a good going over. I can leap up onto my kitchen units and open a window, climb stairs with alacrity and go on long walks with people half my age.
But there is much more than that. Having hated exercise I had never felt the benefit of a good workout! Whatever it might be! But now I do. There is something terribly satisfying about having your first coffee of the morning after an hour of stretching and movement. Whatever those magic things are that get released in your head, it makes me feel better and happier.
So there it is. If at 76 I can start, so can you. Join a class. I promise you there are huge benefits, not least when your 10 year grandson tells you you are awesome cos you can do plank!
If BackPacking Granny’s experience has inspired you, why not check out the A&G online yoga classes on our YouTube channel – they are absolutely free how ever many times you watch them.
You might also like this article on back care and yoga