It's a good thing I wrote about Jack Reacher and me yesterday because I learned more about yoga today than you care to know. First, the so-called yoga class I referred to was not, in fact, a class; it was a spa tourist's version of a stretch session. I did learn a bit about breathing but nothing compared to yesterday's revelations. The count on breathing in and out is hugely important and very long, to a count of five breathing in and another five breathing out. Long time. You really scour your lungs, especially, I found, on breathing out, like emptying your soul. Amazing!
I won't go into the poses - the first basic movements of the beginner's class of Ashtanga Yoga that I attended. I'm stiff today, but mainly in the upper arms. Turns out I don't have much strength there. The big news is the wonderful use of my arms that I have not been making: Hugs.
Stand up, feet together, and stretch your arms out to the side, parallel to the floor. Then bring them together, crossing them in front of you and wrap them around your body as tightly as you can and as much as you can in a big bear hug. You are the hugger and also the hugee. It feels good, sooo good.
See, if you live alone as I do, you don't get hugs every day. Long ago, in my book about widowhood (Beginnings, 1977), I did some research about hugs As I remember, and the numbers may not be quite accurate, a person needs 3 hugs a day for survival, 6 for maintenance, and 12 for growth. Try getting that if you live alone. So this discovery of a yoga hug is very important.