Last week I turned another year older, getting precariously close to my third decade. There was no monumental shift in my world, no immediate wrinkles cropped up on my face and the white hair I’ve had in my hairline for the last 4 years didn’t seem to multiply. My body did not seem to get the memo that another year of aging has taken place, with one exception. The biggest sign of aging that seems to be rapidly advancing is my joint and muscle mobility. Y’all know what I’m talking about, my back hurts a lot and I don’t recover from things like cramped airline seats as quickly. Every day when I wake up, my whole body is stiff and in need of a good cracking. So on the morning of my birthday I added something new to my morning routine; I crawl directly from my bed onto my yoga mat on the floor and streeeeetttttttch.
I roll out my legs and back with a hard foam roller, I do a few simple poses and I lay on the floor and think about my day. I’m pretty limber and excel at most aspects of yoga and pilates, but I have a really hard time with the breathing and meditation part of it. I just can’t get into it. My mind has always went a mile a minute and I hate the ‘yoga tone’ that most teachers have, that breathy, condescending way they talk to their students and the shangri-la elevator music playing in the background. I remember my first yoga class, the teacher said ‘now we are opening the left ventricle of our heart’ and I thought to myself ‘uh, it’s always open you dummy. We would be dead if it was closed’. I’m too skeptical, too sarcastic, too something to fully get into it.
Then one day in the Arizona desert, I went to a drop in class in Sedona that changed everything for me. There was no department store melody lulling me into a false sense of flexibility and the teacher talked to me like a normal person. She also played amazing music, an eclectic mix of icelandic bands that truly made my mind shut off and relax. I took her playlist home with me and now the first song I hear every day is from the Iceland powerhouse that managed to make it mainstream: Sigur Ros. This incredible song is the first song I play every morning. It’s ethereal sound paired with Sigur Ros’ trademark falsetto vocals that lightly wakes me up and I have time to flex each one of my toes and fingers before it’s finished. The second is ‘King & Cross’ by the amazing Asgier and it’s a bit more energizing. This song makes me move a bit quicker and get ready for the day ahead of me.
I’m not going to say anything silly like ‘setting my intention for the day has changed my life’, but I do notice a huge improvement in how much my hips don’t hurt every day and the amount of clarity I have to get through the day. Just that simple few minutes of laying there and thinking of what needs to get done while these beautiful songs play has made a little difference in my life. I hope that by passing them onto you, they will maybe inspire you to improve your own morning routine. Get up, think of me and stretch, stretch, stretch. Think of me when you’re in your fifties and running marathons on your flexible and ageless knees.