Yes, I took that picture!
My big sister married a rancher. I grew up spending summers in a bucolic small town in southern Utah where I learned to ride horses and herd cattle on the open range. On the outskirts of town, near the base of the red rock cliffs, not far from the east rim of the Grand Canyon is a large open meadow called Rush. Rightly named. I've camped there many times over the years riding through driving cattle and always looked up high at the bear cave in the side of the mountain across the meadow. But I never had a chance to hike to it. Last week I was at a family reunion nearby and it was time I saw what was in that cave.
We headed up the side of the mountain and about two-thirds of the way up came to a spot that went straight up. I took the biggest vertical step that I could take, planted my foot as high as I could, and grabbed a hold of the side of the mountain to alley-oop myself upward. As I did--what had looked like a massive solid rock that I was holding onto--gave way--releasing a piece of rock the size of a baseball, beneath my hand. The force of my upward motion sent me hurling backward--ass over bandbox, tumbling down the side of the mountain at a pretty good clip. I was in a headlong, full-body roll, and somehow, managed to grab a hunk of sagebrush and hang on. At this point, I was suspended upside down, with my feet up in the air. But I had stopped rolling and that was good news.
One of my fellow hikers,16-year-old Chad, was now standing above me, looking downwards at the bottoms of my feet. I called out to him; he had this look on his face like; what in the hell is this crazy woman doing! As he came back down the trail I had a split second to make a choice; either he could either grab my foot and pull me up, likely slamming and banging every part of me against the rocks as he hoisted me up, or I could do the most perfect abdominal crunch I've ever done. He grabbed one foot and without thinking I folded my body upward to reach my hand up past my feet to reach Chad's other hand.
I saw it as a close-up scene from a movie; the sun shining on two outstretched hands...reaching, and then a loud "slap" as the hands clasp tightly. He had me! I always liked this kid and after that, he might be going in my will.
If you know me or have seen my content, you know I'm a huge proponent of body conditioning and keeping a strong core. The human body is a healing machine and if you can manage these two things, you've got a good handle on your aging process.
Here's why I'm telling you about this now; I came away unscratched, unbruised, with no soreness at all. It didn't seem possible that I'd be just fine, but I was. I checked and patted myself all over and thought, "Well, okay...it all seems to still be here, so that's good." I had the shakes for a while, but could not find even a scratch.
My overarching emotion was gratitude.
I'm grateful for those of you who have trained with me over the years and those who still train with me every Friday in Mind Body Sculpt. Grateful for the hours of crunches, planks, and mat pilates that we've done together. I'm reminded of so many times when teaching class; and in the middle of an intense core series, when I ask if you can handle a challenge or if you've had enough--you almost always inspire me with a thumbs up and a "let's go"! As I write this I thank you for that and thank you all for training and conditioning with me all these years. It's been an absolute blast and your strength of spirit has inspired me every step of the way. I look forward to an even stronger core and continuing to train with you in the years ahead. Because it's just so worth it; the worn-out yoga pants, moving your foam roller around the house, ill-fitting sports bras, running into the market with a sweaty ponytail after class, messing with the Zoom connection--all of it. It's all so worth it!
Your body will support you in whatever it is that you need, as long as you condition and care for it with intention. Not every workout is for every person. But you were built to move, it is natural to you, and whatever movement brings you joy whether it's tennis, walking, pickleball, or Mind Body Yoga with me--you honor yourself when you prioritize the time to move your body. The benefits are beyond what I could write here. And you don't have to go tumbling down the side of a mountain to appreciate them.
Me trying to get a good pic of Rush in case we didn't make it all the way up to the Bear cave. I'm smiling as I type: See the above image!
Love & health,