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When the professor in my Wednesday Yoga Class announced that there was a final exam coming up in December, I thought it was a very intriguing idea to have a final exam in yoga.

But realistically, what would she test? Breathing skills? Flexibility? Strength? Ability to meditate (does she know if I am truly meditating? Even I don’t know if I am truly meditating!)?  What could this test consist of? I was thinking any comparison amongst students would actually be against the principles of yoga being noncompetitive and nonjudging. And anyway, we have people of all ages in the class – not true – it is actually a group of 20-somethings and a group of 60-somethings. Hey, I just realized that’s what all the classes at MC are like:  20-somethings and 60-somethings. You almost never meet a student in their 30s, 40s, or 50s.  (Maybe I’ll write a blog about this next time).

So anyway, how can the professor compare a lithe young woman with a stiff older man? How about an older woman who’s done yoga all her life with someone who just wants one easy phys. ed. credit? Everyone came into the class with a different physique and level of flexibility and strength. The men in the class can all easily do push-ups, and the women can all do the forward folds. I’ll maybe never be able to do a push up, but I can twist myself into a pretzel. And smile at the same time.

Back to the final exam. The professor said that the final exam would consist of us each presenting a plan for a Home Practice.   That was very appealing to me because, in fact, I really need to do this. The plan had to have a specific goal in mind, and I decided to work on strengthening my upper body.

My plan is to perform a set of exercises (about 30 mins, three times/wk) which consists of the following:

  1. Warm Up: Mountain Pose, Sun Salutation, Cat-Cow and Twists
  2. Do: Warrior I and II and side angle, Plank and Down Dog, and three-legged variations, Cobra and Bow, Child’s Pose
  3. Cool Down: Mountain Pose, Shoulder Shrugs, Forward Fold
  4. Meditate: and some deep breathing to end the session

The idea is to try this for a month or so and see if it can first become a habit and second increase upper body strength. I’ll let you know how it goes. As for the final exam, it is just a matter of presenting the plan. The true test takes place at home.

Arleen Seed

Hi! My name is Arleen Cannata Seed and I’m studying Fine Arts here at Montgomery College in Takoma Park/Silver Spring. Originally from New York City, I studied Art as an undergraduate years ago, but chose to spend my career in a totally different field, working for the United Nations and traveling all over the world bringing technological solutions to global problems.

Once I retired, I had the time and mental space to practice Art again, but I knew I had forgotten the fundamentals. So, I enrolled in 100 level courses in drawing, painting, and sculpture at MC. This was just the catalyst I needed! The professors at MC, in both the Community Arts and the regular credit courses, provided a course of study and opened my eyes to the different ways in which Art is taught in the 21st Century.

This blog is about my journey, my transition from working adult to pursuing an earlier dream, and I’m hoping this story resonates with young people thinking about their career choices and older people yearning to rekindle pursuits which have always interested them.

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