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Grandma Goes Bowling

Tonight, my mother decided that, as a fun thing to do, we would go bowling with four middle-aged adults, two young children, and one friend who wasn’t playing.

My mother was an avid bowler as a young woman. She averaged 160 for a long time in her league playing years. I don’t believe she has played in many years. Her expectation, though, even though she is almost 81 years old, was that she would play exactly like she did when she was young. She got up for her turn, took her ball in her right hand, firmly clutching it with her left. She walked slowly to the foul line, and jams the ball backward, then lunges forward to throw the ball.

Her expectation was that the ball would go to the center. To her dismay, it went into the gutter. Not once, not twice, but eight times! She had a zero for four frames. The disappointment on her face made me see, perhaps for the first time, how much my mother didn’t realize how old she was or her limitations. Every day she wakes up expecting her body to act as if she were forty and treats it that way, as well.

I believe that imagining that you are younger than your age isn’t a bad thing, but let’s face it; as our bodies age, they require our attention in a new way. Each day we have to listen to our muscles, our organs, and reach toward our capacity without pushing too hard.

In yoga you learn to listen to your body in a different way than most people are used to. When you stretch deep into your muscles, you must use your mind to control your breath. As you do this, slowing the breath to four to five counts in and four to five counts out, causes your blood pressure to lower and your heart rate to slow. When this happens, your body doesn’t expect that you will hurt it. Your body learns to trust that you will not break it. So, the practice of stretching ends up being a time when the body learns to trust the mind.

If you think your body is 40 and you are actually 60, your body is not going to trust how you treat it. As that happens, muscles tighten, blood flows slows, and your oxygen levels decrease in an unhealthy way.

My lesson for the day is that you listen to your body and respect the age you are by taking care of your muscles and listening to the limitations that aging brings to the body. Perhaps, by doing a practice such as yoga, you can regain some of your strength and also your mobility.

The objective, though, is for your own body to trust you enough so that it doesn’t strain or tighten when you utilize your strength. When your body remains pliable, your limitations get greater.

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Bo Sebastian is a Hypnotherapist and Life & Health Coach, available for private sessions to QUIT SMOKING, Lose Weight, New Lap-Band Hypnosis for Weight Loss, CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR LIFE! at 615-400-2334 or www.bosebastian.com.

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