Post menopause, retirement and pandemic pounds have taken its toll on me the past few years. I’ve always struggled to maintain a healthy weight and it’s becoming obvious I’m losing the war with age and gravity. Recently, I read a book titled Younger Next Year for Women. The premise of the book is how women can live strong and healthy into the golden years of their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond. Google Books review it with this quote:
A book of hope, Younger Next Year for Women shows you how to become functionally younger for the next five to ten years, and continue to live thereafter with newfound vitality. Learn how the Younger Next Year plan of following “Harry’s Rules”—a program of exercise, diet, and maintaining emotional connections—will not only help you turn back your physical biological clock, but will improve memory, cognition, mood, and more. In two new chapters, prominent neurologist Allan Hamilton explains how the program directly affects your brain—all the way down to the cellular level—while Chris Crowley, in his inimitable voice, gives the personal side of the story.
With Entrepreneur’s health in question because of cancer, it’s important I try and get and remain as healthy as possible. In a former life, I spent time in gyms, lifting weights, doing pilates, spinning and aerobics. But working and raising kids got in the way and I fell out of the exercise routine. This book really drives home the necessity of keeping your body and mind in a strong state to avoid long-term aging issues. After reading the book, I made a
knee-jerk, carefully informed decision to re-dedicate myself to fitness and try out a class called….wait for it….hot yoga.
In anticipation of being fully committed to this for the long haul, I bought a yoga mat, yoga blanket for the mat and some yoga apparel. I’m hoping to strengthen my core, develop better balance and increase flexibility. There are many levels of hot yoga classes to pick from at the studio I chose. I’m working myself up to the full-scale Bikram hot yoga class, but right now I’m starting with “slower yoga” in a ridiculously hot room. Oddly, I don’t hate it.
This is an hour of yoga….which by the way is not all that easy to begin with….in a heated room with humidity. This is not an Arizona “dry heat.” The temp is a dripping 100-105F depending on how sadistic the instructor feels for that class. One advantage of hot yoga is, because you’re sweating so much, no one can see you crying because you believe you’re about to die. And cry I did the first time I finished a class. Honestly, think of a hard manual labor project and then do it outside on the hottest day of the summer with 90% humidity. That might be close. I can truthfully say I’ve never sweat so much in my life. It’s said women don’t sweat….they glow. I’m here to tell you, everyone in hot yoga sweats….buckets.
I always thought of yoga as nice, slow, meditative stretching. Not so. I stepped into a class called Vinyasa Flow and discovered muscles I never knew I had. Another class called Yoga Sculpt combines all sorts of yoga poses, cardio, resistance bands and weights. Mercifully, Yoga Sculpt is not in a heated room. I alternate these two with a class called Slow Flow….and I find myself moving very slowly a few hours afterwards. Slow Flow transitions are done slowly with intention, while contracting muscles so not to completely lose balance and fall off the mat.
My two-week unlimited trial phase is finished and I’ve bought 10 more classes. Looking around at the many of the instructors and participants, I have a good 30-40 years on most of them. We’ll see if this old gal can keep up with the young, hard-bodied college yoga students once school begins again.