Margo: The opposite of aging gracefully | Opinion


I gingerly roll onto my back as the therapist adjusts the high-tech massage table to raise my knees and torso just so and gently places an herb compress on my eyes before massaging gardenia scented essential oil into my neck and shoulders with slick, hot stones.

While everyone is up at the World Cup watching grown men hurtle themselves down Aspen Mountain at speeds that would get you pulled over on Highway 82, I’m sprawled out in the spa at True Nature Healing Arts in Carbondale, a luxury bohemian oasis that is decidedly understated and laid back but smells expensive.

The state-of-the-art spa is housed in a round building referred to simply as the “kiva,” which my therapist tells me is “very special energetically.” Between the radiant heated floors, sophisticated LED tape lighting along the curved ceiling seams, and walls constructed of custom concrete blocks with wood grain patterning, my senses are already soothed, like walking through a living work of art. Treatments include everything from your standard massage to spiritual readings with energy healing and something called Aura-Soma which is described as “a wellness tool that helps you become the best version of yourself” and involves self-exploration through color.

I enjoy a steam in the decadent marble shower in my private treatment room followed by an insanely pleasing hot stone massage and mind-altering foot reflexology from a lovely therapist who I’m pretty sure is my new best friend. It’s a decadent birthday gift from Ryan but it’s also kind of necessary because I’m totally worked.

Every year for my birthday, I try to do a challenge to push myself and start of the year at my best. I’ve done juice cleanses, push up challenges and every diet under the sun from Keto to vegan (which are the exact opposite of each other, a testament to why diets are ridiculous in the first place).

This year I was especially fired up for some reason. I decide to do 50 yoga classes before my birthday. The problem is, I only have 39 days, which means I must do two classes a day for at least 11 days.

Then I sign up for Noom because they make it seem like you can lose as much weight as you want if you download their app and pay a bunch of money. Little did I know this would be a full-time job in and of itself. You log all your meals which requires a bunch of math skills I never learned because I wasn’t paying attention in class that day. I have to convert grams to ounces and scan barcodes and enter recipe ingredients. There’s this complicated food rating system that basically means anything that tastes good is off limits. I am required to weigh myself every day which is like sticking needles in my eyes and eating lint. Dude, they want you to monitor your weight by monitoring your weight. Noom is basically a sophisticated calorie counter that feels like a prison sentence, which is what living in my body sometimes feels like.

Midway through my yoga challenge, I start to fatigue. I decide this is just “negative self-talk” and keep going. I lose 8 pounds and am thrilled.

By class 47 my back starts to twinge. I think I may have injured it in a class called “Buddhi” which is basically all about twerking to dirty rap in various yoga poses. I’m pretty sure I threw my back out dry humping the floor in a split.

I push through those last three classes with the help of high doses of Vitamin I and an emergency visit to the chiropractor. After my 50th class, I hike the bowl because that’s what I do every year on my birthday. I celebrate afterward with a couple beers and then indulge in a sushi dinner that includes a few fried bits.

The next day, I can hardly move. I’m like an old woman, clutching my back as I shuffle gingerly across the kitchen in a robe and slippers, wincing when I sit down. I’ve gained back 5 of the 8 pounds I lost. I write a mean message to my Noom coach and get an automated response of encouragement from a bot.

I lay on the heated table with my face in the cradle, my sinuses full of snot and eyes swollen shut, and take slow, deep breaths as the therapist gets into my lower back and hips where it’s especially tight. I feel every bit my age. I wonder how in the world I’m going to get off this table and go back into the world where I am 53 years old, reek of gardenia oil, and can feel my lower back throbbing. 

I drink a $15 chocolate banana smoothie even though I know it will crush my daily allowance for orange foods, but screw it. Life is too short to count calories.


Ali Margo is not going to yoga today. Email your love to [email protected]