Friday, June 24, 2011

Getting Out the Kinks

It felt like forever since I’d taken a yoga class, but it was more like three weeks. What with Chicago and Printers Row, then Yosemite and things I had to take care of on Thursday evenings, I kept missing class. I have been taking yoga with the same teacher for around fourteen years. We meet in the multi purpose room a church and the room looks out into the branches of a beautiful tree. That’s the peaceful part. The church is on a corner and it seems shrieking fire engines, sputtering motorcycle or yipping dogs are always going by. But then a big part of yoga is learning how to center your mind. Being able to overcome those noises is part of the challenge.

I have discovered from talking to people in my yoga class and at my gym that it seems like most people either do yoga or some kind of aerobics. Not that many do both. The aerobic classes I go to are more or less dancing to uptempo music and are fun. Yoga is slow. You do a pose and hold it. The music in my class is ethereal and merely there for background.

Aerobics ends with everyone sweating and high on their endorphins. Yoga ends with final relaxation which is more or less a meditation. I always leave in a happy serene mood.

The combo of classes works for me. I get benefit from both kinds, but tonight I needed yoga.

I was feeling scattered when I got to my class this evening. Yoga is good at fixing that. Before we even did any poses, we did an opening meditation which is all about centering your mind. As we started, my mind was flitting from one thought to the other. I remembered I needed to get a legal size envelope to send back the contract for my new series - then my thoughts jumped to the book I’m working on and what crochet projects I want to include - then I was reminded I need to update my website for Behind the Seams. On and on it went even to whether or not I should stop at Trader Joe’s on the way home and if I did, what was I going to buy.

But while my thoughts were flipping around, I started to focus on my breathing and being in the moment. The flipping went into slow motion and finally stopped completely and I had that moment of an empty mind. Pure bliss!

The poses we did stretched my leg muscles, worked on balance, and released tension in my back. The poses were hard and sometimes hurt a little, but by the time we were ready for final relaxation, I could feel the difference in my body. It was as if all the kinks had been straightened out. By the way, there’s a name for how we lay for final relaxation. It’s called corpse pose.

One of my classmates brought chocolates to share to celebrate her birthday. She’s turning ninety tomorrow. You could say she’s certainly a testament to the benefits of yoga.

What do you like to do as exercise?


Dru said...

I like walking around the city or on the boardwalk. I never see the same things no matter how many time I walk the same way.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Yoga sounds really rewarding, Betty. I like to walk, and I also enjoy my Curves membership.

Terri Thayer said...

I like to walk and I also go to the gym. Haven't taken too many classes, though. That might be a good idea. Some new.

Planner said...

Aerobic dancing is my favorite form of exercise. I used to take classes, but now I'm doing it on my own. Selecting dance steps that fit just right with my favorite music is the best, especially when it all comes together. Gotta stimulate those endorphins!

Betty Hechtman said...

Dru, walking is great. I know what you mean about each walk being unique. I walk my dog on the same route every day, but each time it's different.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I used to belonged to Curves a while back. So many of them closed in my area, I didn't realize they were still in business.

Betty Hechtman said...

Terri, I never used to like exercise classes, now I adore them. There is the social aspect - I have made friends with a lot of my fellow exercise people - there is a different energy when you all do something together.

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, good for you for coming up with your own dance routine.

Cozy in Texas said...

I like walking and when it's too hot (Texas is miserable now) I'll dust off the elliptical or find a swimming pool.

Monica Ferris said...

I do water aerobics three times a week. I've been doing it for years and have come to know my classmates quite well, which makes it easier to get there at the ungodly hour of six-thirty in the morning. I've also joined a golf league and golf on Thursday afternoons. I need to go golfing more often to improve my game. When my game is "on," it's like meditation, everything else falls away.

Betty Hechtman said...

Knowing the people in your class makes a huge difference. I went to a cardio class this morning and a big part of it was catching up with everyone while we were waiting to go into class.

I can see how golf could be meditative.