When you spend your childhood, teenage years, and the beginning of your twenties being a serious athlete, you become accustomed to pushing yourself to your limits physically.
Your body takes a pounding.
When this phase of your competitive life is over, it takes some adjusting.
You may go through a phase where you shun any form of physical activity altogether.
You are burnt out.
Then, when you eventually get back on the exercise bandwagon, you are under the belief that you must beat the crap out of your body in order to make it count.
If the workout is not at least an hour long, it seems like a waste of time.
And if you are not sweating, and gasping for air, and sore the next day, well then, that workout was a joke.
It doesn’t really even count as a workout.
It takes a long time to get out of that mindset.
For me, it has taken a REALLY long time.
Like, until Thursday night.
Two days ago.
I went to a yoga class with a friend.
I had guilted her into coming to a tabata class with me two weeks before. So when she asked me to go to yoga with her, I felt obliged to say yes.
And I’ve been telling myself that I need to do yoga.
I mean, Dr. Oz says it’s pretty much a requirement to be healthy. For longevity.
But I just haven’t been able to force myself to go to a class.
This is due to a number of factors.
I went to my first, and last, yoga class about 15 years ago.
It was at this snooty little gym in Ridgefield.
I was about 29, and I was single.
I worried about things like if I had cute workout clothes on and how flat my stomach appeared when I turned sideways and looked in the mirror.
I worried about what everyone else thought.
I worried about looking like an idiot.
I worried about not being the best in the class.
So I went into this class not knowing one single thing about yoga.
All the women in the class, including the instructor, were thin.
And annoyingly flexible.
The instructor said things all yoga instructors say:
This is your practice.
Don’t feel like you have to stay in a pose as long as everyone else…
At 29 years old, I compared myself to everyone else.
Everything was a competition for me.
So we got started.
For 60 minutes, I held poses I had never seen or heard of.
I didn’t do them well, but I did them as long as everyone else did.
I sweated, and shook, and convulsed my way through that class.
When it was finally done, I was never so happy for anything to be over in my entire life.
I was sore for four days after that class.
I have never, EVER been that sore from anything else.
Not from a swim practice. Not from lifting weights. Not from a triathlon or the NYC marathon.
Not even childbirth.
So I was definitely feeling sore, but I was also feeling tortured.
Plus I didn’t think the ratio of calories burned to energy exerted was near what it should have been.
And that was the end of yoga.
In the past couple years, I have tried to do some yoga at home.
I’ve done P90X yoga a bunch of times.
It’s similar to that class I took way back when.
It’s hard, I suck at it, and I hate it.
And you know what happened last week when I tried to do yoga in my room while the kids were awake.
So all of my yoga related experiences have been completely unenjoyable.
And that’s the mindset I had going into this class that I had, regrettably, agreed to go to with my friend.
Now when I looked at the class schedule and realized that the class wasn’t 45 minutes long, like I thought it was,
but 90 MINUTES LONG,
I started panicking.
Like a wild, caged animal.
I had to figure a way to get out of this class.
There were so many other things I could get done in 90 minutes.
I went directly to my Facebook messages. Maybe my friend had changed her mind.
I saw a red “1”.
I had a new message, and it was from my friend.
I was saved!
I opened the message and read it.
I need this yoga class BAD. crappy day in real estate world. see you at 7:30!
So, I went.
I got to the class before my friend.
I unrolled my mat, and I sat on the floor with a big cloud of doom hanging over my head.
The instructor turned off the lights. She had brought a small table lamp. She plugged it in, turned it on, pressed play on her iPod, and told us to lie down.
I decided I might as well make the best of it.
I tried to just let go.
And I did.
No, this time the release was different.
And I knew it was going to happen.
About 30 seconds into the class the tears started flowing.
I couldn’t stop them.
I tried to cry as quietly as I could, but I didn’t try to suppress it.
For about 20 minutes, I cried.
The stress of the past few days, and weeks, and months, and probably years, came pouring out of me.
And this is why I know I need to practice yoga.
You see, I have gotten really good at settling down my mind down in a number of ways.
All of them unhealthy.
I have been very successful at using drugs to calm down my brain.
All of those work to shut down my thoughts.
They don’t help me to actually deal with them.
I have never really been totally (or even partially) successful at using my own brain to calm my thoughts down.
I want to change that.
I need to change that.
And I really want to teach my children how to do that.
And so, about 30 minutes into the class, the crying totally stopped.
Alone, without the assistance of drugs, or food, or anything else unhealthy,
and without the assurance or assistance of another person,
I survived the crying.
I survived the discomfort.
I allowed myself to feel the discomfort.
And I got through it.
And then, I felt better.
A lot better.
Now this wasn’t a hard core yoga class. It was relatively gentle.
So once the crying stopped, I focused on my body.
I listened to my body.
I felt myself getting looser.
It was quiet and calm.
There was a clock in the back of the room.
You could see its reflection in the mirrors in the front of the room.
I hadn’t really noticed it.
When I finally did and I looked at the time, an hour had already passed.
There were only 30 minutes left.
I only had 30 minutes left of calm.
30 minutes of peace.
30 minutes with no children crying, or yelling, or interrupting, or tugging at my clothing.
I enjoyed every moment that was left.
And then, in the blink of an eye, the class was over.
How did that happen so quickly?
I was actually sad.
90 minutes earlier, I had been dreading going into this yoga class with every fiber in my body.
Now, I was dreading leaving it.
But I felt clear.
I felt like I had just received a massage.
But not just for my body.
For my brain too.
So I’ve turned another corner.
On Thursday night I spent 90 minutes in a room practicing yoga.
I didn’t sweat.
I wasn’t out of breath.
I probably only burned about 50 calories.
And in the past 44 years, it was probably the best workout that I have ever had.
2ND PLACE SUCKS! I need your votes!
VOTE ! VOTE! VOTE ! VOTE! VOTE ! VOTE! VOTE ! VOTE!
I’ll keep writing, you keep voting!
All you need to do is click on the banner above to register a vote for me!
You can vote one time every 24 hours from your computer and cell phone! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! I really appreciate your support!
Check out and “like” the not-your-average-mom.com facebook page!
Follow me on Twitter @mom_not_average