Posted by: kerryalina | 8 March 2012

Challenge Class 21: Fire Drills and Consequences

Twelve months ago, my office had a fire drill.  I work on the top floor, but it’s not a particularly tall building – just fifteen stories high.  I’m the designated warden for my office, so I leisurely donned my very attractive hard hat and slowly ushered my colleagues down the stairs.  Once down, we mingled, chatted, commiserated over the inconvenience and, when given the all clear, caught the lift back up and continued on with our day.

That night, I was in agony.  For the following week, it hurt to walk.  I live in heels; unless you count my single pair of runners, I don’t actually own any flat shoes.  Over the years, this very pretty but probably unwise habit had caused the muscles in the backs of my calves to contract and shorten.  The act of walking down that many flights of stairs, while no problem to my overall fitness, stretched and pulled those muscles to the point where it hurt to look at my poor abused calves, let alone touch or move them.

Three months later, I started Bikram yoga.  And today, we had another drill.

Fire Drill 2012: no fewer stairs, no different circumstances.  My footwear preferences haven’t changed; I still have a wardrobe full of six inch heels.  Yet I not only feel fine, I headed to class after work and completed the full series with nary a twinge.

When I first started – hell, for the first six months I was practicing – the backs of my thighs burned and ached for days after every class.  My calves throbbed with every step I took, and god help me if I tried to touch my toes.  And while I know, now, that I can not only touch my toes but place my hands flat on the floor next to them; while I know that the constant aches have disappeared (although so gradually that I hardly noticed they were gone); it wasn’t until today that I finally realised just how much my body has changed over the last nine months… and how infinitely grateful I am for that fact.


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