Daylight savings beat me good, and come Monday morning, following a 9+ mile day, there was no way I was getting out of bed. Instead, I promised myself to go to yoga either during lunch (in which case I’d go to Jivamukti) or in the evening (meaning I’d head to Yoga Vida). Of course, lunchtime passed, and I still hadn’t gotten up from my desk, meaning I’d have to make it through the rest of the day without convincing myself not to bail on the nighttime workout. Trust me, it’s harder than it sounds.
It’s not that I don’t have willpower, because my habit of running practically every day clearly suggests otherwise. It’s that I don’t have willpower after the hour of 6:30, when all I really want is a glass of wine, sweatpants, and some tasty snacks. (Spoiler: My night ended in these tasty snacks – wine included.)
As I sat at my desk, the minutes ticking closer and closer to the end of the day, I naturally began to contemplate the urgency of going to yoga. I’m not sure if, in this case, I ever actually thought I’d opt out, because there was a big part of me that truly wanted to spend an hour stretching and sweating after 4 great days of running and one longer Sunday excursion. Sometimes I think whining is simply habit.
That’s why, while I could have walked right past the yoga studio that’s so conveniently located a block from my office and made my way home, I instead made the conscious decision to walk in, take the elevator to the sixth floor, and pay the studio $12 for an hour of advanced yoga instruction. (Apparently it really has been a long time since I’d been there; last I checked classes were $10.)
There were so many reasons why I loved this yoga class, and it’s not just because I actually sucked it up and went.
For one, it was surprisingly pleasant. I tend to be unenthusiastic about the 7:00 class at Yoga Vida, even though it’s the only one I go to. It just happens to be held at a convenient time near my office, and it lasts just an hour. (I can hardly last more than an hour at a bar, let alone a yoga class.)
I think I’ve just never found a flow I liked; most incorporate too many balancing poses for my uncoordinated self, you know, because it’s supposed to be for “advanced” yogis. But Monday was different. I loved the instructor – one of the first male instructors I can honestly say that about. I found him to be unintimidating, knowledgeable, and helpful without being condescending. I nearly crashed into him while getting out of half moon (mainly because he helped me get into it), and yet I wasn’t thrown off at all.
I loved that it wasn’t crazy crowded, like the 7:00 class tends to be. Because of its advanced designation, classes take place in a more intimate space and are capped at a lesser number of students. When classes hit that cap, it can be crowded and uncomfortable. Monday wasn’t like that; probably because everyone else was out soaking in the unseasonably warm evening with a happy hour brew. If it weren’t a Monday night, I’d probably have been there too. Instead though, I took an hour to honor my body rather than fill it with alcohol. So that felt nice.
The last reason I loved the class – the reason that really resonated – was because I felt that it was unintentionally made for runners. The entire flow was heavy on the piriformis-friendly poses, including half and full pigeon, seated spinal twist (see left), a deep figure 4 bend, and an asana I had never done before that I found targeted my problematic hip perfectly. I have no idea what it’s called, so I’ll just have to demonstrate.
1. From downward facing dog, lift your right leg.
2. Bring it in toward your left tricep. Rather than jutting the leg backward again, extend and straighten that leg outward, to your left, and slowly lower it.
3. From there, you can slowly lower your body as though you were chaturanga-ing. Ignore how awkward this feels, because if you suffer from sciatica or piriformis pain, you’ll be mighty glad you did.
So, the moral of the story is that the lazy voice inside your head isn’t doing you any favors. Of course, there are days when rest is just as important as breaking a sweat. But on most days, it won’t hurt you to get over your lethargy and get your butt to yoga, or whatever else it is you like to do for the general good of your health. As a wise lady (a fitness instructor I met through my job) once told me, “There has never been a workout I have regretted, but have many regrets about ignoring my need to work out.”