On the way home from our monthly book club meeting my dear friend Shannon, the writer of erotic thrillers, leaned up over my shoulder from the back seat of my 1997 Peugeot 106 where she was sitting with her 11 month old baby, Alex, and said,
"I've been reading this book..."
"I think the story behind it is a bunch of hooey, but..."
And she proceeded to tell me all about Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth. Which, in short, is a mini-yoga program designed to help you in the process of "youthing." The opposite of aging, right?
It includes 5 simple exercises to be repeated every morning, as few as three times each, but ideally working up to 21 times each. The first exercise is to spin around clockwise in place, the second is a sort of leg lift, in the third you arch your back, in the fourth you make a bridge with your body, and in the fifth you swing from an arched back position to forming a V with your body. They are very simple, but perhaps easier to understand by looking at the photos in the book than from reading my description.
Apparently, these exercises serve to normalize the energy in the seven "chakras" located in the human body. Freeing this "blocked" energy allows your system to function optimally and turn back the clock, creating this "youthing" process that makes you stronger, healthier, more energetic, and so on.
Being a woman of a certain age...certainly not "old," in my opinion, but not getting any younger either...I have started to notice the effects of time passing. Those wrinkles deeping around the eyes, that droop of the chinline, the quality of my skin tone. Nothing tragic, but enough to make my vanity falter a bit.
When I was younger, I always imagined an old age lived with verve and style. You know, the old lady dashing off in her hot red sportscar to a bridge game with her girlfriends! At the same time, I've always felt it is important to age with dignity. I wouldn't want to be one of those folks who dresses too young and ends up being ridiculous.
But, seeing friends and relatives begin to age around me, I have realised that the real problem with aging has less to do with aesthetics and everything to do with health. With age you run into more of what the Italians call "acciacchi" (say "AH-CHA-KEY") or aches and pains, infirmities and ailments. Anything that can help fend these off is more than welcome, I say.
And so, last Sunday I started my "youthing" program. On the first day, I did only a few repetitions of the exercises, or "rites" as they are called in the book, but when I was finished I felt energised and...taller! I've always had poor posture, but since beginning the rites standing up straight seemed natural and easy. Wow!
On the third day, however, I felt full of muscle pains around my chest. Yesterday these pains transferred to my back between my shoulder blades and I'm having painful muscle spasms there. I hate to think this is related to the exercises in any negative way. I mean, the exercises are easy and make me feel great. I'm wondering if there is some sort of yogic explanation, like a problem with the particular chakra involved. Unfortunately, I'm completely yoga ignorant... Hope the pain goes away soon so I can get back to doing the rites.