I recently joined a gym. Before you start giving me kudos, you should know that I joined because they allow the kids to stay in the kid’s area for two hours a day. With summer coming up, that was the clincher when I was looking over the paperwork.
But now that I’m there, I am actually enjoying the classes, specifically, the yoga classes. I have taken three so far; three different yoga class types. One was basic yoga, one was a Pilates-yoga infusion and the third was hot Vinyasa yoga (Vinyasa means flow).
I can’t say that I love doing the actual yoga poses. It’s not hard, but that hot in the title means what it said: it is HOT in there! With sweat dripping from my nose, I’m trying to perform the downward dog pose for the millionth time, and at times I feel a tad uncoordinated. I’m also not that flexible. So some of it hurts! But when I’m done there is a peace inside that I can’t put into words.
|Downward Dog Yoga Pose
I guess I could say it’s like holding my arm above my head for a long time and finally I am allowed to put it down. The relief is instant and blood flow to that area is tangible. Or, maybe it’s a painful massage that afterwards feels like it was needed and, oh, so helpful. Whichever one of those helps a vision come to life, imagine it, if you will.
It’s to get the after-feeling that I intend to keep going to the yoga classes. It’s probably not far off from the experience most exercise offers, but I think with yoga there is an actual peace I come away with; a peace that I don’t get from regular exercise.
It’s much like what I get from meditation, except this is a moving meditation. I am required to breathe and I am asked to be present with my breath.
It’s funny, now that I have been doing yoga, I can’t believe I haven’t done it before. I have been going to meditations for about three years and in all that time, I have never attended a yoga class.
In the current book I am reading, You Are Here, by Thich Nhat Hanh, there is a meditation that I have been using in yoga classes (and beyond). This is a walking or sitting, or in my case exercising and trying to get through it, meditation.
With each breath, I say each word. In breath, In, out breath, Out. In breath, Deep. Out breath, Slow.In breath, Calm. Out breath, Ease. In breath, Smile. Out breath, Release.
I don’t say these things the entire time or anything, not even if I am in a sitting meditation. I want my mind to have a chance to be silent too. Words are not always necessary to keep me present. But if I find myself wandering and I want to come back to the present moment, this is what I say to get myself back there. I also repeat one line more than once if I want to. For me, there aren’t many rules to mantras – it’s a flow and as long as it’s flowing, it’s good.
Another thing I like about yoga, and the gym in general, is that my everyday mom-uniform fits right in. I have spent years running around in workout pants with various t-shirts and tank-tops thrown over my sports brazier. Now my uniform has dual purpose. There’s the comfort factor and I might actually work out. But even if I decide to go to the pool and have a glass of wine (yes, my new gym serves!), my uniform fits right in.
As far as I’m concerned it’s all a win-win for me, for the kids, for my health and for my summertime sanity. And since the kids just got out for the summer yesterday, I hope my new relationship with my new gym works out (literally and figuratively – pun intended).