I recently started a list of “101 in 1001” which is essentially a list of 101 goals to complete in 1001 days.  While this started shortly after the New Year, it is decidedly NOT a New Year’s resolution-esque in that the list consists of tangible, smaller achievable goals within the next 3 years or so.  Such as: learn to cook chicken (I know… I’m a horrible cook), try rock climbing, ski Tuckerman’s, read a book per month, etc. 

After a particularly draining weekend (that involved wading through 5 ½ feet of snow in the backwoods of upstate New York in a failed attempt to actually ski that powder… but that’s another story there), I decided to tackle my goal of “Go to yoga more often,” by finding a class at Healthworks that fit into my schedule: a 4:00 Sunday afternoon class.  This goal was prompted by my orthopedist’s suggestion, who noted my relative inflexibility and the benefits for me, as a runner who is apparently prone to injury, of getting my allotted stretching and toning time in.  I have been to yoga classes, and for a period of time in my life I would go fairly regularly, probably 1-2 times a week, but in the past couple years this activity has dramatically fallen to the wayside.  As a cardio-addict, I will admit that the spiritual level of yoga escapes me, and I gravitate toward the deep stretching, challenging positions, and continual flow of certain yoga classes. 

I guess in my race to accomplish my goal, I didn’t fully read the yoga class description.  As it turns out, this was not the Power Yoga or Hatha Yoga to which I was accustomed.  If I had read more carefully, I would have seen that Vinyasa Yoga is “a flowing style of yoga that deeply integrates breath and movement, awareness and alignment, and stability and flexibility. Thoughtful sequencing and moderate pacing keep the body gracefully engaged and stimulate mindful focus.”

I won’t lie.  For the first 10 minutes, I considered leaving.  I was ready to get past all the sitting and breathing precursors.  I wanted to do some downward dogs and sun salutations.  Where was the flow?  But then… I guess I just let go of all my body hang-ups and focused (it helped that the instructor had a really soothing voice and instructive narrative).  And it just started to click.  In this class, I slowed down, really sank into those stretches, and focused on my breathing.  My mind went elsewhere, and I didn’t care that this probably wasn’t a huge calorie burning session. 

It also dawned on me that I’ve been tired.  Like, really really mentally and physically tired.  I run around from 6 am to 8 pm on the weekdays.  On the weekend, I have (too many) social obligations, plus catching up with mundane tasks.  Plus, recently, I’ve been faced with some really life-changing decisions, which, while absolutely positive, have replaced the space in my brain that used to think about other things.  Even getting to a yoga class on a Sunday afternoon (after having taken Sunday morning spin) was tiring.  My mind is on a continual loop of checklists and to-do’s.  (Yoga mat?  Sports bra?  Tights?  Gas in car?  check.  check.  check.  check.)

After the class, I felt comfortable in my body, quiet in my mind.  It was a good way to end a Sunday.  I’ll be sure to do it again. 

 – Joanna

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