As the days turn to weeks and weeks to years, I sit in front of my computer organizing issue after issue of the world’s self-proclaimed leader in parks and recreation—PRB magazine!
All of that “organizing” has been hell on my posture, which has, in turn, been hell on my back.
Eventually, I “sprained” it—causing my right hip to rise grotesquely above my left one, leaving me looking like something from low-budget Halloween movie.
The first time it happened, it scared me into action.
I went to my doctor, who took an X-ray and found I had a disc moving sideways. She suggested a chiropractor. So, I went to the chiropractor, got adjusted, got hooked up to some weird electrical thing that was supposed to reduce the inflammation causing the problem and spent a lot of time with ice on my back.
Two weeks later I felt better and a month later, I was back to “organizing” with nary a worry—or a plan to avoid the problem—which of course led to another sprain and another two weeks of pain and recovery.
As time progressed, and each sprain became more severe, I realized this problem wasn’t going to be solved by simply buying a straight-backed office chair or a new mattress. I had to work diligently to solve the underlying problem—namely an impressive lack of core strength coupled with an equally impressive lack of flexibility in my hamstrings, hip flexors and, presumably, the rest of my body.
Finally, my wife, who was sick of paying medical bills and spoon-feeding me dinner while I laid flat on the family room floor, suggested Pilates for core strength and Yoga for flexibility (and balance, as it turns out).
It wasn’t a pretty picture. A 40-year-old man on a pink, second-hand yoga mat trying to downward dog and breathe his way to better back health. Luckily, my gym of choice (my basement) was isolated from the rest of the free world—so I suffered the Pilates/Yoga indignity in (mostly) isolation. I say “mostly” because my teenagers—all excellent athletes who work out more than I personally believe is healthy—enjoyed “watching TV” in the basement during my workout sessions.
It seemed no TV show could match the pure entertainment of Dad falling over hitting his shoulder on the water heater or taking short-ish breaks when his calves, hamstrings, shoulders, arms, started shaking like a day-old Jell-O mold.
One day, I was heading downstairs for another pink-mat session and my son yelled, “Hey old man. Going to do some yoga?”
“No,” I yelled back. “I’m going to do some Roga (Rod’s yoga)—it looks like yoga, but the rules are looser.”
I then when on to define it for him.
In Roga, you hold a pose as long as you want. Skip poses you hate. Wear anything you happen to find on the floor of your closet (doesn’t have to be clean). Use a mat, or not. Wear socks when it’s cold. And, skip days when you’re just not feeling it.
We’ve added a few other Roga rules since then. For instance, unlike those hardcore folks who created PIYO, there is no nutrition plan. People who practice Roga are into common sense. We eat what we want, when we want, but we try to eat healthy. We try to watch our portions, but, you know, Super Bowls happen.
I bill it as Yoga for the common man. And, amazingly, even in this version, it works. Of course, if you want actually do Yoga correctly, start by reading “Back To Basics” by John Kelley on page 48.
Till next month….
Rodney J. Auth