Saturday, November 19, 2011


So I'm all ready for this 90 minute "Hot" Yoga class this morning.  Well...... to be honest, I had some work to do to get myself psyched up for it.   After all, Mandy was home.  We were up until 1:00AM gabbing, etc, etc ....     Imagine my reaction when I walk into the studio and find out that I am the only person in the 9:00AM class.  Yup - me, myself and I.   I looked at the instructor and I think I said something like "do you do solo acts here?".    She asked me if I felt comfortable being the only person in the class.  I thought about how it costs $100 for a scheduled private instruction, and that pretty much made up my mind.

As per usual, the sweat was pouring down my face at about the 2 minute mark of the class.  It was kind of cool  - sort of like a choreographed duet.  The instructor stood next to me instead of in the usual instructor spot facing me.  Choreographed.... in that I have taken the Hot class enough times to know all of the moves and follow her with minimal vocal direction.  A mostly silent practice.  I felt more in control than I thought I would.  Somehow I was able to push myself more than usual without pushing too far, maybe because I've reached a certain comfort level with all of the instructors.  I know that none of them are judging any of us in their classes.  I also found out the difference between the Hot classes and the Flow classes.  The primary objective of the Hot classes is to improve blood flow to our core and internal organs.  The Flow classes are designed more for improvement of muscle tone.   The instructor who had advised me over a month ago to alternate Hot and Flow classes had hit it right on the mark.  So many people go to primarily one or the other for various reasons........ BORING!    More and more I am reading that the key to integrating exercise into your life is to not allow it to become routine or too familiar.   The Hot classes don't change much,  but the Flow classes are different because each instructor is allowed to design their own class.   I believe this equates to.......FUN!  No need to elaborate any further...

Now that I have all of that sorted out (it only took 3 months!), I can expend more effort toward the mental challenges posed by Yoga.   Clearing the mind, focusing on the practice, etc...   Oddly, the silent practice today did little to advance my development in this area.    The weirdest, most random thoughts started popping into my head this morning.   As I laid on my back, supposedly concentrating on my breathing and heart rate, I started making a mental list of the names of all of the Bee and Metro newspapers in Western New York.    Ummmm..... what the hell?????

Baby steps...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Exercising or Exorcising?

One of the important facets of Yoga is a clear, focused mind.  You are to remove the events of the day and focus inward.  Sometimes I seriously doubt my ability to accomplish them.  Today was one of those days.  I entered the studio and sat cross-legged on my mat.  As I focused on my reflection in the mirror, all I could see was something resembling a blowfish.  Every part of me appeared puffy - face, stomach, arms, legs and  most of all, my eyes.    Terrific.  Focus.  "Inner Demon, are you there?  Time for you to leave.... or if you plan on staying, at least be productive and help me concentrate.  Thanks... so much."

So, what, you might ask, is my inner demon?  Well, I have this overwhelming self-centeredness that seems to take over my entire being, and I seem not to be able to stop it.  This is why I know that my daughter is a better person than I am.  She is inherently good, instinctively empathetic, and almost always puts others before herself.  This is the child who has spent her entire allowance/paycheck/bank account balance on  - (choose one:  birthday gift, Christmas gift, or my personal favorite - Friend In Crisis and Needs a Pick-Me-Up Gift) since the age of eight.

I'd like to think that I am gaining control over this demon as I age but then when it strikes, I feel like nothing has changed and I'm back where I was in my twenties  when I was living every moment of my existence like this.   When it happens, it's almost like an out-of-body experience.  After I realize that it has happened, it is actually physically painful - like being punched in the gut or having your heart twisted - or both depending on the identity of my latest "victim".  I've spent a long time trying to figure out what has made me this way, and finally I gave up and just thought I'd better do something to control it.  I think I'm doing better than ever before.  I shouldn't be so hard on myself, but it just hurts so damn bad when it happens.

So, on days when my inner demon has won a battle, Yoga seems to remove the pain and self-hatred from my mind.  Peace is restored, at least temporarily.  The question then becomes - am I doing this for self-improvement or is it the ultimate act of self-indulgence?