Today I took a tumble in my exercise class. I think I scared my friends, all of who are younger than me; I scared myself too. Why did I fall? I probably was doing a more difficult routine than I should have been doing. The choreography was complex and the routine was fast. Most of my class-mates have been taking this course from this instructor for years. They love it. I have a tendency to try too hard to get it right. That tendency results in extreme stress even without a fall. The last couple of times, I have mentioned to my friends that by the end of the class, my upper back and neck muscles are rock-hard!
Now I have been doing aerobic exercises for long enough to know that the purpose of aerobic exercise is to DECREASE STRESS! So why is my experience one of more stress rather than less. I could just say, “Well, you should cross that off your list.” Or I could choose examine this experience. It is true that years ago I used to do step aerobics and I always felt tired and happy at the completion.
I could just give up and admit defeat. My age has caught up with me.
However, Ernest Holmes had something to say about this:
Thank you, Dr. Holmes for helping me clarify my situation. The thought that I am too old to do a step aerobics workout is simply not based in truth. My stress, and my fall today, came in judging the situation as too hard. Trying hard to do the dance steps perfectly was not allowing me to enjoy the movement or the moment.
When I first learned to meditate, I did the same thing. I would try hard to do it right. The harder I tried, the tighter my neck and back muscles became. Only when I learned to really relax did I start to receive the gifts of meditation.
Friday when I go back to aerobics class, I will intend to relax, have fun and do the dances as well as I can. After all, if it is worth doing at all, it is worth doing imperfectly.