To Yoga, or not to Yoga.

I think I am in pretty good shape for my age. Maybe we all feel that way because we don’t look at ourselves as old. My vision softens when I look in the mirror. Pictures don’t soften so much.

The sixties were my formative years, and two things happened to shape my habits for the next 50 years. The 1960’s that is. Although when I think about it, now being in my sixties, there are a lot of things forming too. Guess it never stops.  I grew up on a farm, and when formulating the food for the animals, my Dad always put lots of vitamins in the mix. It made a huge difference in the quality of their health and weight. I was able to witness the difference with the animals other farmers raised without vitamins. I started taking vitamins in my mid teens and still do to this day. Not some single pill One a Day, but a well researched regimen of pills that has been numbering in 30’s per day. I honestly feel it has been an effort well rewarded.

I also loved old Hercules and Tarzan movies, which weren’t old at the time. Also liked the crazy muscle beach movies too. Maybe because I am half Greek I imagined myself as Hercules, and living free like Tarzan in the Jungle appealed to me at the time (funny, but that is exactly what I am doing right now). I was a scrawny kid, couldn’t pack on muscles no matter what I tried. But I tried. Always had a weight set at home, and used it, and as soon as I had enough money, I joined gyms wherever I lived. Never really felt good unless I worked out with weights, even though lifting weights went through a long journey of good for you/bad for you times in the media. My weight has never really changed my whole life, and inside I feel like I did when I was 30. I would like to think that resistance training (a fancy term for pumping iron), has made me much healthier than I would have been without it.

For the twelve years I lived in Minnesota, I belonged to a Gym. Not sure if you can even call it that, it was more of a athletic and relaxation destination. 2 pools (indoor and outdoor), 2 restaurants, huge exercise floor, running track, locker rooms with hot tubs and steam rooms, massages, tennis courts, kid’s daycare, mini golf, trampolines, clothing store, the list goes on. Wasn’t cheap, but the kids and I liked to go there. Kind of figured I would try to join the same kind of place in Maui. Figured wrong. Turns out the gyms are tiny (but still expensive). Apparently, people here get their exercise in other ways, or not at all. Come to think of it, winter was always busier than summer in the northern gyms.

I ordered some resistance bands from Amazon, took about a month to get here, and they really didn’t give me the same feeling as weights. I started walking on the beach for cardio, and that’s a great workout. Then I looked into Yoga. I have always heard it’s good exercise with a side benefit of stress relief. Stress relief is not something you get in a busy gym. Lots of sweaty people you have to work out next to, and just imagine of you are a germaphobic. Looking into the different types of Yoga, trying to find one that replace my gym workout, I stumbled across the Five Tibetans. Been doing just that for the last three months, and still have not gotten to the full 21 repetitions of each movement. And I still get that same wonderful somewhat sore the next day feeling. I feel it has helped keep me toned, given me more flexibility in my muscles and joints than lifting weights, with the added benefit of stress relief. After 40 some odd years of weight training, I feel I have found a workout for the next 20. When I get to be 90, maybe I will switch to Tai Chi, like you see on TV.

If you are interested in learning more, there are a lot of similar videos on U-tube about the Five Tibetans. I combined a few of them to come up with my own individualized variation. It’s always hard to give up something you’ve done for a long time. This was one I’m glad I did.