Note: This post, written by guest author and acclaimed yoga teacher, Rita Trieger, is the first in a series entitled “Strong Mind, Sound Body” which will profile the journey of a strength trainer and a yogi as they get out of their comfort zones and spend time in the other’s shoes.
It didn’t happen all at once. It’s really because of a confluence of different circumstances that I find myself in this particular situation: Overweight, out of shape, angry, depressed and low on energy.
During the past five years, I stopped working in the city. No more subway steps, or walking long city blocks to my office, or daily workouts. Instead, most days I’m in my car (sometimes for many hours), driving all over Westchester and Fairfield counties, teaching yoga (teaching doesn’t mean doing!).
And then menopause (don’t ask), a back injury (it was pretty debilitating), wine (I was depressed!), and my own limiting mindset (too old/too tired/my back hurts/it’s too hot/it’s too cold, WAH!), as well as a very good instinct for locating fashion that (sort of) camouflages my blossoming girth (which looks especially good in the “skinny” part of the mirror).
Ever been to Denial? It’s like walking around in a mirage of your own doing.
Then one day, not long ago, a very lovely older gentleman joined our weekly after-practice coffee clutch. We were all chattering excitedly about the loveliness of that particular studio and the benefits of yoga, when said gentleman declared, “I can’t believe how flexible you are Rita — especially for your size.”
I understood he merely meant it as an observation and I had no legitimate grounds to be insulted, but WOW, did that hurt. I just smiled and thanked him, but I was stunned.
I’m a petite person and had always been able to maintain my 110lb. figure throughout most of my life. I was always active — loved it all — step, spinning, weights, hip-hop classes, and, of course, yoga. For a brief time I was a personal trainer and a kickboxing instructor. I’ve been teaching yoga for 16 years…WTF???
How did size happen?
But there was still some procrastination left in me and so I choose to feel very, very sorry for myself for just a little while longer. And then it was summer. Used to be my favorite time of year.
I hate wearing a bathing suit, not to mention that walking in the sand takes a huge effort. Frolicking in the waves looks ridiculous (I’m like a blob) and I’m not strong or buoyant enough to withstand big waves or bodysurf. Plus, I can no longer locate the skinny section of any mirror, any where.
Ever been Delusional? It’s all about very clever lies that are so convoluted you actually believe them.
I stared at the ocean and thought: ENOUGH. No one held me down and force fed me, or demanded I stop working out. I got complacent, and had a handy bag of excuses at the ready.
E N O U G H. Time to get up off my formidable ass and do something about it.
So I emailed my beautiful, badass friend Suzanne.
Let the games begin.