Friday, April 17, 2009

Downard-facing Don

Today I became, for the very first time, Don the Downward-facing Dog.

I have been doing many of the yoga exercises on Wii Fit for about 8 weeks now, and today I added the Downward-facing Dog pose. That's a picture of it above.

This yoga regimen is a mixed bag for me. I excel at Deep Breathing, mostly because it is the first exercise I do after climbing up the stairs so I have a head start. This pose isn't really as easy as it sounds because it requires keeping your balance for about a minute, not necessarily one of my strong points when I started out. But I am pretty good at it now.

I am top rated in The Hunter and The Triangle, which means those big thigh muscles supporting this super-sized torso have grown pretty strong over the years. I am OK with the Single Leg Lift, even though I almost fell over the first dozen times I tried it.

I avoided The Tree for ages. That's the picture above, with one foot resting against the other leg's inner thigh while the arms reach skyward. I probably don't have to explain to any of you who know me why I avoided it, but let's just say the TV was new and I didn't want to have to replace it.

Anyhow, once I was able to do OK with the single leg lift, I figured my balance on one leg was good enough that I could master The Tree. I was wrong. Even after more than 20 days of trying it, I still find myself swaying as if the pose should be renamed "The Tree In A Hurricane". My animated Wii Fit trainer (that's him in the pictures) inevitably comes on with a line like, "You were pretty unsteady" or "It doesn't appear your left leg is supporting you properly." No kidding, jerk. I thought I was falling off the balance board because there was an earthquake a moment ago.

I have avoided exercises that involve getting on the floor. Or at least, deliberately getting on the floor. With all the troubles I had with my knee last year, I have been reluctant to push it too hard. But I have been doing exercises to strengthen it. The Chair (which involves sitting in a chair without the chair) and the muscle exercise Rowing Squats. The latter involves squatting 15 times in a row. At about the 12th or 13th repetition, you can start to hear the knees popping louder than the grunting I am doing. Nonetheless - and certainly no surprise to LK - I am a natural at squatting and do very well with this one.

Add in that one of my best yoga poses is Sun Salutation, which involves touching your toes (OK, ankles count!), and I figured I was at the point where I could start to push the knees a bit more by doing the Dog. So on all fours I went today. Then hands on the balance board, feet flat to the ground and bum as high as it could go. (In that pose, by the way, mine already starts out quite high.) I became The Downward-facing Dog. You have to hold the pose for 30 seconds, by which time I am pretty sure my form most closely resembled The Fatally Wounded Rhino.

No matter, I survived. The knees are a tad sore, but my Wii trainer commended my first effort and urged me to try it again tomorrow. How could I disappoint him?

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