I am no longer young. I can no longer easily reach my toes, lift my legs or twist my body like I used to do. And dull aches haunt my limbs and joints. So I surprised myself when I found out I still can lift my butt and do yoga.  Well, at least some of it!

That one in the picture you’re looking at, that’s after my very first basic yoga class. I asked my yoga teacher to take a photo of me for this blog and as a souvenir. A photo that would remind me that I was able to survive my first yoga class.

At class, I fumbled and scrambled following the teacher’s instructions.  She, on the other hand, can do all the positions with ease, with impeccable balance, with great stamina. Oh, well.

What do you expect? I am a busy, working mother.  There’s relationships, raising a family, advocacies, and a lot of other stuff. Did I mention work? The world throws so many stressful things at me everyday. And I have to parry them all like the expert ninja-momma I consider myself to be.

Work means deadlines. Outputs. It also means headaches, leg cramps, aching feet and back aches.  Signs of aging, they say. I resort to stress eating and makes things worse.

Listen to your body, I’ve been told. So, I did. I listened to every part of it, muscles, limbs, internal organs and all.  I took mental notes on what I eat and how it affected my body. Did I feel alive or sluggish? Did I feel depressed? Did my brain feel alive or does it just conks out working for no apparent reason?

I did this for a month and learned a few things. Too much sugar is bad, it made me feel heavy. Caffeine, it perks me up, but too much of it dehydrates me. My list goes on.

I live in a very fast-paced world. I multi-task a lot. For example, while doing the laundry at the nearby laundromat , I attend an on-line class. While waiting for the clothes to dry, I do errands and more stuff. Like, keeping tabs on my social media feeds, answering calls or text messages. I guess I like being kept on my toes.

The number one item on my list is I eat too fast.  That is not good. I have to chew the food, slowly. My stomach does not have teeth, hello! Indigestion and heartburn have been quite chummy with me lately. There was this one night that I could not breathe. It felt like there was something heavy pressing on my chest. I was alarmed.

Number two:  I do not exercise. I always tell myself to go back to dancing, but it hasn’t happened. Now I am doing yoga. For this, I’d like to thank my best-friend who dragged me here and promised me a free movie after as a reward.

Number three: I am over-compassionate. I go overboard trying to solve other people’s problems while my own are still unresolved. I get stressed out.

Those are just three things. The first two are easy to cross out off my list.  The compassion thing, not so easy.

However, I know that with deep meditation  and self-assessment, I know I am off to a good start. Hey, I even now have the mojo to blog.

I practice slow food, cook my own meal and force myself to c-h-e-w slowly as possible. I lessen my sugar, meat and coffee intake. Eating out with friends or in meetings, however, messes up things.

I have a confession to make. If you find me looking like I have stopped breathing in my sleep, don’t be scared. Truth is, I am a shallow breather.

I read somewhere that learning how to breathe properly is important but we don’t pay attention to it. Guilty? Check! As a shallow breather, I only use 15% of my lung capacity. Only 20 million pores in my lungs receive oxygen. The remaining 53 million pores are deprived!

But, I am positive that it is not too late for lifestyle changes.  As simple as learning to eat slow and breath properly.  It may rob me some of my work time but this would benefit me and loved ones.

Change is good when it’s going to make someone better, right? Yoga is my first baby step to a future better self.

Om Shanti.