So I did it after all.
I went to the gym last week. Not once, but TWICE! To quote my four-year old, "YAYHOO!"
So…Wednesday morning I splashed my way over there in the pouring rain, and ran for 45 minutes on the treadmill while reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince…(gotta get ready for Book 7 next month, ya know!) Reading is most difficult while running, I should point out, especially when you’re trying to run AND read a 3 inch thick hardcover! But these are the hardships we hardcore runners suffer (oh, insert very sarcastic laughter here!) The point is, I did have about 475 other things I could have been doing on Wednesday morning, but I made going to the gym my priority, and it was worth it. The world had, in fact, not self-imploded during my 1-hr absence, and I felt a lot better for having done it. And, you gotta love that multi-tasking, eh? Get the reading in at the same time as the exercise. Bonus!
And then, not one to give up after one shot, I went again on Friday. This time I headed in for 30 mins of running (and Harry et al) before a 1hr Yoga class.
Oh, I lurve yoga. Do you do yoga? If you do, good for you. If you don’t, you should. Honestly. You don’t know what you’re missing! I took up yoga first just before getting pregnant with my first child, on the recommendation of my doctor, because I was struggling a bit with stress, etc. I picked up a beginner yoga video (on VHS tape, no less; severely dating myself here!) and was astonished at how much "harder" it was than I had imagined. This yoga business was not just sitting cross-legged and chanting OHM. No, it was standing with head high, shoulders back, hips, knees and ankles aligned, feet anchored…tension and energy flowing through my body. I was sweating and that was just mountain pose! The first several times I did it, I could not finish the 30 minute tape. But I was hooked. I soon moved up to some more difficult poses: warrior, triangle, star, downward-facing dog, child (my personal fave) and I wanted more.
By the time I got pregnant with my first, I was ready to take classes, and enrolled in prenatal yoga, where I learned how to do a full sun salutation (love!) and some balance asanas, including tree pose, which is another of my faves. I was quite miffed when my husband put his foot down and forbade me to go to my last pre-natal yoga class with baby #2. Jeez, I was only in early labour, after all!
After baby #2 I was fairly regular with yoga class attendance, until my oldest entered kindergarten. Then her school schedule interfered with the yoga classes at my gym, I got super-super-busy (going back to work will do that to you, eh?) and I only went to yoga classes sporadically, and rarely practiced at home.
Strangely enough, both my stress level AND back pain worsened! Losing 50 pounds certainly helped (especially with the back pain) but when I experienced an episode of severe back spasm two weeks ago, I was jolted back into reality. A weekend on Robax was all the convincing I needed, and off to yoga class it was for me.
Now, the class I attended on Friday wasn’t the best I’ve taken (or the worst). It was a little too much on the easy side for my taste, and there’s no separate room in my gym for classes, just an open dance floor-type area, but I made the most of it. Two things hit me that day:
Yoga gives you a sense of well-being unlike any drug. Honestly. I’ve taken drugs to improve mood (both the recreational and prescription kinds) and they’ve got NOTHING on an hour of Yoga. If I had a ton of money I’d hire a yoga instructor to come to my house at 7am daily for an hour just when I’m waking up…to start the day off on a total high note. (Oh, but I’d have to also hire a nanny to get my kids fed and dressed, eh?) Truly – an hour of yoga has an instant and long-lasting feel-good effect. And with zero side-effects (except maybe stiff muscles the next day if you really push yourself). I walked out of that gym humming in every nerve.
I look waaaaaay better doing yoga at 165 lbs than I did at 215! My instructor actually said, "close your eyes now" a few times and I swear she was talking to me…I could not take my eyes off the mirror, and it wasn’t just to make sure that my arm was level with my shoulder or my hips were facing my toes or my back was straight…
Anyway, I missed Monday’s class (because of SOCCER argh!) but I will be there Wednesday morning, stretching my cares away. Hopefully someone out there will join me. Actually, I’ll go you one better; I challenge all you lovely Losing It readers to go out and take a yoga class this week. Make sure you post a comment when you’ve been, and I’ll be sure to update you when I’ve been, as well. Why not spread the love a little bit, right?
Now, if only we could get the G8 leaders into a Yoga class the world sure would be a better place. (OMG, actually the thought of Stephen Harper trying to pull off downward-facing dog is downright scary and I shudder to think of what George Bush would make of warrior pose).