When I walked into my first yoga class it was only because I was "on the shelf" and limited to low-impact activities. I had been plagued by Plantar Fascitis for months and then, finally, it tore. Plantar is a classic overuse injury and while you can continue train on it, the best way to totally get rid of it is to let is rest completely - something most runners aren't willing to do (I'll readily admit that we are a borderline neurotic people). There's nothing like an injury to force recovery, though. It firmly sits you down by the shoulders, stares you right in the eye and says "Slow down, you're working too hard and I won't go away until you back off".

I was living in Boulder, Colorado at the time and if you know anything about the town, then you know it's pretty notorious for being health-conscious. I once heard someone refer to the residents as "yippies" (a hybrid of yuppie and hippie), a moniker I now afectionately use. They're the same folks who keep Lululemon Athletica, Inc (NYSE: LULU) performing so well by not only supporting the retail sales, but also by investing in the stock. I've got nothing but love for you Boulderites. Ask my husband, I haven't stopped bugging him since we left the town to move back. Anyway, if I couldn't run and train myself into the ground for the next 6-8 months while my foot healed, then I'd keep fit and embrace the Boulder lifestyle.

So I checked out the class schedule at my gym, donned some stretch capris, and did my best dog impersonations. Even then, I didn't take to yoga right away though. The first class I took was SO unimpressive. My heart rate barely cracked 70 bpm and I didn't even break a sweat. WEAKsauce! Add to that the tie-dyed, "Hare Krishna" hang ups I had and it's a wonder I ever went back for a second class. I mean, c'mon, were these yogis serious, sitting cross legged and "bowing to the inner light shining within"? Sorry, but I couldn't do it with a straight face. I mean, what if someone saw?

The next class I went to, however, was taught by Cindy, a student of the Bhagavad Gita. She opened each of her classes with a reading from the ancient Hindu scriptures, using its moral to set an intention for that day's practice. Now, you'd think that this would've really sent me running out the door screaming, but it just so happened that on that day the scriptures spoke of balance. My inner Libra perked up. Balance, you say? I CRAVE balance. Imbalance caused me this injury. Keep talking. She went on to say that each body is unique and has its own limitations but that those limitations should not set boundaries for us. Life is a contniuous balanacing act, she explained. Boundaries do not exist because what may be your "limit" one day, could just be your starting point the next. Well, I was sold. 

I spent every weekend of that entire fall attending Cindy's class and honoring my broke down body. It was amazing just how battered I was. In the beginning, the classes were almost painful - I was so out of whack it actually hurt to stretch. But I kept going and my assiduity was rewarded with just a bit more flexibility each week. On top of that, I was getting much needed "quiet time" and reflection for my busy mind. True to its reputation, I was leaving class zenned-out. After, I'd walk over to my favorite coffee shop (in the whole wide world) and spend hours on end sipping, writing, and taking adventage of the yoga-induced chill that took over my mind/body/soul. It was the most blissful atumun and one of my most memorable.

These days, it's a little harder to get into a formal class setting (though there is a beautiful studio right near my house where I took pre-natal classes while waiting for the birth of this guy). Despite that, I try to keep a daily practice and even include my new favorite little person in my routine - the play mat and it's hanging jungle animals has nothing on Mama's goofy faces durning downward dog.


andrea said...

"WEAKsauce!" -- love that ;)

and yeah, it just gets better doing yoga with a baby, n excels at downward facing dog and loves to hang off mama as i plank away (well, try to - my arms, they are weak!).

Anonymous said...

Plank with a baby on board? Impressive! Yeah, I have very happy visions of a following me through sequences when he's older. xxx!


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