RV Fitness – Yoga & Saluting the Sun
Yoga = the yoking of all the powers of the body, mind and soul to God (Mahadev Desai in “Gita according to Gandhi”)
I have to admit that Paul and I are not the spring chickens we once were. Although young and spry in mind, our bodies are a tad slower and require just a touch extra help to keep the derrière from sagging in tune with the passage of years. As a result, in addition to our wild-wheeling adventures we work hard to keep our bodies as svelte and handsome as the springy youth of our minds…or so we like to think, anyway. Having already covered sprinting, today I thought I’d introduce you to a practice I’ve enjoyed for over 15 years, and that’s Yoga.
Now, Yoga can conjure up all kinds of images in folks. From pretzl-like poses that only a human octopus should rightly do, to half-naked hermits meditating in far-off caves. It’s an old Indian philosophy (over 5,000 years old) and if you really study it, Yoga can be a pretty complicated subject, but for those of you just looking to firm up the tush a bit it can actually be a really fun, really easy and totally RV-friendly exercise for all ages.
There’s all types of Yoga out there. I happen to do a form called Ashtanga, sometimes called “flow” yoga (because you move or “flow” through the poses). It’s a fixed sequence of poses that start off with something called “Sun Salutations” (Surya Namaska) traditionally done to the rising sun. If you’ve never tried Yoga this is a really cool way to start. Anyone can do sun salutations and the best thing about RVing is that you can literally chose your spot to do it. There’s nothing quite like waking up the body to the rays of the sun stretching across nature’s grand design and we’ve had that fabulous experience all across the US from the wild Mojave Desert to the white beaches of South Carolina.
The basic set of poses are quite easy starting off with stretching up to the sky, doing a type of push-up (you can modify it for beginniners), spending a few breaths in a downward V-shape and coming back up to standing. It looks like this:
Once you’ve mastered the intro you can move onto some of the other poses, from nice and easy stretches to fully-out-there handstands (hubby is quite the master now). There’s enough to keep you occupied for years and you can take it all at your own pace. The poses not only develop balance and fitness, but can create quite a bit of sexy muscle too. The more you practice, the better you’ll get, and after a while you’ll find it clears the mind too.
Yoga was one of the best exercises I ever learned and I plan to do it for the rest of my life. As I like to say, I may not quite have attained union of body, mind and soul, but through the practice of Yoga I’m definitely getting a good part of the way there.