Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Runner at a Yoga Class

I got a one week trial pass to Equinox Gym, a very fancy gym near our apartment, and I figured this week was a good week to use the membership, figuring that New Years Resolutionists wouldn't be flooding it until the weekend. While we have a decent gym in our apartment, I was happy to play with some of the broader selection of equipment, and to try out some classes. My big goal for the week was to try to do at least one yoga class.
I didn't feel totally graceful at yoga class
Yoga and I are not the most natural fit. One, as a runner, I'm not very flexible. Two, as a type A person whose brain goes a mile a minute (and my mouth too), it's to quiet my mind and focus on my breathing. But as someone prone to excessive worrying, I thought maybe this could be a good opportunity to try a new solution to mellow out. And I'm glad I did: I really enjoyed the classes. It is so different from any exercise I'm used to doing, particularly running, where you're trying to move forward, and this is about being still and centered.
A lesson I've learned and re-learned this week: Just because someone is fit in one area does not mean she is necessarily all-around in great shape. I am admittedly a good runner, and can produce good times in distance races. But even with core and strength work a few times a week, the classes whipped my butt (and everywhere else). I am sore all over, and holding some of the positions caused my body to quake and quiver. BUT, I did not fall over, and I am taking that as a victory. And despite my soreness, there was some momentary internal quiet. For an hour, I didn't look at my phone, connect with the outside world. I breathed and posed. And yes, the dissertation thoughts and anxieties crept in, but there some quiet.
I don't think I'll be trading in my running shoes for a yoga mat permanently. But I do think that there is a lot I can take away from the practice and use it to complement both my running and my writing.

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