Very recently I somewhat spontaneously decided to explore yoga again. I spent a couple of days thinking about why I hadn’t liked it in the past and why some of my dearest girlfriends had become yogis. Then I grabbed my mat, a less-than-sufficient towel and jumped into a class.
It was great, better than great. I loved it!
When I started thinking about why, the reasons to love yoga became clear. At least, for me. (Yes, I was laying there drenched on my mat at the end of class with a far-from-empty mind spinning about a potential blog.)
First, there is of course the physical element. It’s challenging, toning, strengthening and requires a lot from every muscle from fingertip to toe.
Just today I did a class that really tackled balance. And this is not the life balance I am desperately seeking in the balance of work-life-mommy, this is the tree pose while standing atop a yoga brick!
We all know that the mental element of working out is a huge hurdle. And I certainly have played every mindgame in the book to get through even a 3-mile run. Let’s see: changing speeds each minute, crazy intervals, running during commercials only, not stopping until Gwen Stefani finishes her list of what she would do if she were a rich girl, racing to trees, beating yellow lights, you name it, I’ve tried it! But there’s always a distraction that even the best mindgames can’t beat.
The cell phone! Yep, while as strange as it is to really be out of touch for 60 or 90 minutes, once I released the mommy neurosis about being unreachable, it was liberating! There was no cell phone sitting on the console, no TV monitor flashing before me and no news ticker making me cross-eyed in my efforts to keep up with it. And no email or texts!
My phone silenced and in my bag nearby (baby steps here) forced me to really focus, to disconnect and reconnect with my body and the dreams I have for changing its shape and ability.
Pass the Bucket
When it’s hot and humid, I sweat. When it’s even a little hot and not humid, I sweat. I’m a self-proclaimed “Sweaty Girl,” a member of a club that a handful of my friends and I have instated. We’re the girls that don’t wear gray T-shirts in the summer and appear to have taken a dip in the pool rather than a run when we leave the gym.
But when I step into the warm, sticky yoga class and the sweat beads appear on my forehead before the first Downward Dog, it doesn’t bother me a bit. Sweating in yoga is part of the process – it’s socially acceptable to sweat buckets. It’s even lauded!
So in my efforts to seek balance, I’m now working on my physical balance, too. And I’ve even invested in a towel that cost far too much. I probably should just bring a bucket!