I’m heading out for a walk. Bathing suit weather is coming and I’m ill prepared for the challenge. Many blogs back I believe I mentioned I got a membership at one of the large local fitness centers. Since that post I have gone exactly once. Sigh. Walking is exercise I easily throw myself into. However, when floor exercises and treadmills are added to the mix somehow you lose me. When it comes to structured exercise my mind will accept any excuse thrown in its direction to avoid becoming involved. “It’s not healthy to exercise on any day of the week ending in d-a-y. Somewhere in the world it’s most likely night. My second smallest toe is larger than the big one making my balance questionable”. You name it, I can run with it. Not literally, naturally.
During a recent shopping trip my friend and neighbor suggested I join her for yoga. Couldn’t we just do lunch and call it good? Before committing myself I needed to acquaint myself with what yoga entailed. I watched a video on the subject. Really? Gumby couldn’t accomplish some of the positions shown. My oldest granddaughter is going to school to become a certified yoga trainer so I suppose in support of her aspirations and my well being I could give it a try. Getting in the spirit of the idea I picked up a yoga mat at the dollar store. No point in investing heavily in equipment in case its a short run.
Fortunately, all my workout clothes are nearly brand new. Their only function until now being gathering dust in my closet. Pulling on some Spandex, I hopped in the car with my trusty mat tucked under one arm heading for an exhilarating morning of stretching and posing. My anticipation at auditing the class was palpable. Not. The last time I attended a structured fitness group I chose Jazzercize. A bad choice in hindsight. Inadvertently I signed up for an advanced group. While the well choreographed women seamlessly moved about the floor doing their routines Susie floundered about in the middle of them like a recently caught trout in the bottom of a boat. Humiliation isn’t a big enough word to cover that morning.
As expected on arrival the yoga bunch was a mixed age group of about thirty. Mats of different hues were tossed about on the floor. With a peaceful brook gurgling in the background a perfectly toned instructor took her place at the front of the room. Speaking in tones that would lull a meth addict to sleep, we began with stretches. For the newbies she explained the basics. If these were the basics, I definitely wasn’t ready for whatever followed. Then, meditation. I found this part relaxing and certainly not asking too much of my body. Next we were asked to extend ourselves face down with our hands and feet on the floor and stick our behinds up in the air. Hmmmm. I believe this was called the dolphin. I’ve been to Sea World on numerous occasions and don’t remember ever seeing the mammals assuming such a position, but okay. Inside my head I heard my spine creaking and shifting as I assumed the position. Ouch. Secretly I was wondering if there was a chiropractor on the premises. One might be needed before the hour is over. Why can’t humans be born in perfect condition, with perfect teeth, and move on from there? I’m adding this to my list of questions should I make it to where it is we go once we leave our bodies behind. Several positions with “dog” in them came next, which I managed to execute without totally embarrassing myself. Quickly it became evident whoever originated yoga had been sitting on their porch observing wildlife while the concept took shape. Many of the positions were a tribute to animal agility. Certainly most were not a tribute to mine.
Towards the end she did three or four positions for the more advanced students suggesting those of us just getting started observe but not participate. No worries here. After seeing what they were doing even if I’d been enthusiastic about trying these there surely would have been body casts and EMT’s involved somewhere shortly afterwards. One she called an “ear pressure pose”. Made my ears pop and I was sitting on the floor as they executed it trying to keep from throwing up.
I will go back I decided, contributing $20 towards the next lesson. In between it was suggested we review videos on-line and become familiar with the various positions on the paperwork they gave us. Uh huh.
After our company left I had bananas leftover. They went in this scrumptuous banana cake. Yum. Better add running to the yoga.
Banana Apricot Nut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. apricot brandy
1 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup drained and finely chopped canned apricots
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13 x 9″ pan with cooking spray.
In large mixing bowl cream butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat for 2 mins. Add vanilla, brandy, bananas and canned apricots. Beat for 2 mins.
In another bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 mins. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool on rack until completely cool. Frost cake once cool and sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz. pkg. soft cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Whip together cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla. Slowly incorporate powdered sugar, mixing well.