Sunday, October 24, 2010


Time alone. I dressed for my workout.

My lower back twanged as I pulled the sports bra over my head. I felt it with my hand, rubbed a little, and my back asked me to bend. So I carefully bent forward, fingers splayed on the ground, and nudged my hips back and forth until I could feel the stretch gently tug whatever was tight in there loose. I held that for awhile, core muscles pinch-hitting to let the hamstrings and glutes relax into the pose.

Of their own accord, my hands began crabbing forward, biceps and triceps called into action and ready for service. My core muscles guided me into a Downward Dog, but I was fidgety. Lots of little things felt out of place. I shifted in place, engaging hidden muscles I didn't realize I could engage, relaxing others I hadn't known were holding tight. It felt as though an army of tiny mechanics roamed my body, finding imperfect alignments and musculature, making subtle shifts to correct them. I held the pose as my arms started to ache, observing my body rock a little this way, twist a little that way, shift and shake into position.

I felt a faint rope of warmth from the base of my skull, down my neck, behind my spine, into my pelvic floor, and with each shift my body took, the rope felt more tangible. Everything hung from it. As my arms tired, I moved forward on my hands, ending in a Plank pose that soon modified to Cobra. Slowly, I sank to the ground, my arms and legs stretched away from my torso, my face (unfortunately) in the carpet. I felt invisible hands pulling my fingers and heels, lightly shaking my arms and legs and then pulling again, until my spine had space to breath and relaxed its grip on itself. A wave shook down my spine, and it settled into gravity.

Gently, the invisible hands picked up my right arm and left leg. My core muscles jumped forward, anxious to do their part. First, however, they had to shift around a little, figure out which ones should engage. The little guys wanted some action, so I tried to let the side muscles shift their position so that the lower and mid pelvic muscles could play a bigger role. Under-used muscles in my arms and shoulders proudly stepped forward to assist the invisible hands in lifting, holding, and achingly slowly lowering my arm/leg opposites. Like very restrained swimming, my arms and legs hardly left the ground. Muscles so long overlooked had grown weak and lazy. It felt good, and also painfully difficult, to keep them in action.

I felt my neck pinch. Oh, boy. Do I have time to deal with my neck? I wanted to work out. Okay, I thought, I'd better or it will haunt me.

Still lying face down, I reached around behind my neck. Using one hand to stabilize the right side, my fingers began exploring my left neck for the source of the pinch. I closed my eyes and let my body take over. Sure enough, my hand started finding places to rub, press, stretch, hold, rock, and even knuckle. I lay on my side, my eyes closed, groaning and whimpering in response to my own neck massage, and it felt like freedom. My hands were radiating. My cats circled.

I sat up, and shook myself into sitting alignment. My head ached a little. The unappreciated masses of facial muscles that keep me in check all day, every day, were demanding some time to play. I started stretching my face into hideous configurations. I opened my mouth as wide as it would go, stretched it sideways and crossways. I pursed my lips up against my nose. I sucked in my cheeks. I rolled my eyes into my head, stretched the skin across my forehead and jiggled it up and down. I rolled my cheekbones backward and forward. How my face loved to play! It rewarded me with a laugh that rose from my belly and echoed in the room for my ears to enjoy.

But as I was stretching my face, new problems arose. That jaw again! Which of my thousand ticks is it that keeps putting my jaw out of alignment? Irritated, I realized I would have to work inside the mouth. My left hand propped open my teeth with my thumb and index finger acting like a car jack. With my right index finger, I reached to the back of the gumline, and massaged inward into the inner chin behind the jaw. Slowly, I centimetered my way along until I hit a tender spot. Ah, there it is. I pressed gently, and used my thumb on my cheek to ease the jaw just subtly, slightly left. It barely moved, but it was enough. I held it there, and rearranged the muscles in my lower face, neck, and upper chest around it. I relaxed the muscles in place, and let go. The jaw seemed better.

From Lotus, which I had assumed without noticing, I shook out my shoulders, reaching to knead out the crunchy muscles across my back. I leaned my head against the cradle of my bent-back arm, and held myself tenderly while I rubbed. It felt so good. I moaned a little.

Oh, no, I thought, I'm not getting into shoulders. I simply do not have time! I raised my head.

Time. Right.  

Well, body, are you happy? There's no time for a workout now. 

I check in with my body. Yes, she's happy. We're good.