The Hatch-Palucks, Week 32: Just Say 'Om'

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

amy hatch living room picture

This mess would make anyone need to meditate. Credit: Amy Hatch

When my husband suggested recently that we take yoga classes, I literally snorted.

In fact, I snorted so hard that I almost inhaled my laptop. We were working together in his office after our thrice-weekly workout at the Activities and Recreation Center at the University of Illinois when these amazing words fell from his lips.

"I need to find a place to do yoga," Channing said, as he got up from his desk to stretch. "I know you're going to think I'm crazy, but I think it will help me get centered."

I did, at first, think he was joking. My husband is a world champion scoffer, the kind of guy who thinks every meal should be served with two kinds of carbohydrates, preferably both potato-based. He is the least New Age-y person on the planet.

So, yeah, I was shocked to hear him suggest that we take up an exercise regime that includes meditation. He was, however, totally serious. It's a grand testament, indeed, to the Healthy Families Challenge that a man such as my spouse would even consider yoga.

I'm game, and I said as much -- but I'm a little skeptical. The idea of gentle, low-impact exercise is appealing to me (considering my arthritic knees and pelvis, which are complaining in the suddenly very humid weather here in Urbana, Illinois). I also love the idea of learning how to get centered, and to meditate.

Our lives are hectic, and will only get more so as I take on more and more freelance clients (I'm a self-employed writer and social media consultant), and as Channing gets further along in writing his dissertation at UIUC. We both chose professional lives that take us far off the beaten path, which is great for us, but our paths can be ones of stress and uncertainty.

We tend to be anxious people, anyways, my husband and I, and I know that our kids pick up on that. When our 6-year-old, Emmeline, was diagnosed with anxiety, it really came as no surprise to either of us. Emmie has come a long way recently, though, in taming her fears, and I'd really like to support her by doing the same myself.

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Vigorous exercise (like the treadmill for me and swimming for Channing) helps, but I'm curious to see how yoga could complement what we're achieving at the gym. I knew that fellow Challenger Victoria Michelle Quintana, took a yoga class, and so I asked her what she thought of her experience.

She told me that she had also been skeptical, wondering to herself, "How hard can this be?" She also had her doubts about what it could do for her body. But, she found that she went from zero flexibility to literally bending over backwards.

Thanks to that flexibility, she told me, "I am more balanced now, and can participate in higher-impact exercise." The benefits of yoga didn't end there, though, Michi says. She also learned some meditation techniques.

"The first two classes I tried really focused on meditating on (the) gods...(but the instructor) let me know that I could meditate on the god of my choice, which I appreciated," she says. "I always came out of class really relaxed and able to focus on what my body was letting me know it needed. We are taught that yoga means union of the body, mind and soul, and that our bodies speak to us if we would just listen."

That sounds like just what the doctor ordered for the Hatch-Paluck family, although I'm not entirely sure I want to hear what my body has to say -- I have to listen to enough complaints as the mother of two, thank you very much.

The first time I tried yoga was a bust: I threw out my back so badly that I was in bed for a week. That's one of the hazards of my arthritis -- my pelvis goes out of joint very easily, throwing my spine out of alignment and popping my disc.

But, I'm willing to give it another go, this time in private, one-on-one lessons with my husband. I hear that hot yoga is really, well, hot, and so maybe that will be our next date night!

In the meantime, I'll practice saying, "Om" with a straight face.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.