There’s no doubt that I wanted to run on Wednesday morning, but sticking with my promise to all of you — and myself — I created a nice little nook next to my bed, just large enough for a yoga mat and weights, and crafted an impromptu morning yoga and strength training sequence.
As for the I-can’t-run blues? Gone, just as soon as I saw all of the woeful texts from my fellow New Yorkers lamenting the syrupy air outdoors. I suppose if I had to choose a morning to work out from the comforts of my air conditioned bedroom, Wednesday would have been it.
In the past, when working out at home, I’ve sprawled out in the living room, situating my laptop on the TV stand, resistance bands on the couch, yoga mat diagonally along the carpet and free-weights wherever is most convenient. But with friends staying on the living room couch this week, my private gym seems to be currently occupied, and so I figured I’d let them sleep and move my workout next door to the oasis of my bedroom. (Reason #2304982035 why I’m elated that Noah’s and my original apartment application on a sweet studio in Union Square fell through. Doors and walls are things to be coveted.)
The space: “cozy,” which we all know is just another word for cramped.
The air: conditioned and cool.
The yoga mat: perfectly green.
The view: New York’s gray, swampy skies.
Though I was running (unfortunately, not literally) on much less sleep than I was used to, I was nevertheless resolved to stretch, sweat, or accomplish a combination of the two for the next 60 minutes. Here’s how that turned out.
Minutes 1 to 25: DIY Yoga
I’ve been to Jivamukti and completed their Spiritual Warrior flow a billion times over, and yet every time I try to replicate the sequence, I fail miserably and wind up spending more time fumbling over what asana comes next than actually regaining any sense of balance or zen. The result: more stress than when I started and the ultimate fail.
This time around, I’d ignore the voices in my head. Rather than worrying about creating a perfectly symmetrical sequence, I just went with, yes, the flow, ensuring that I stuck with each pose for a full 5 breaths, as the Jivamukti practice requires.
After creating a surprisingly cohesive 25-minute practice that, while not totally parallel to the studio’s sequence was not totally off either, I arose feeling like Gumby, my arms, back, legs and torso feeling stretched and loose. I was even able to touch my toes — a novelty, based on my inflexible composition (see my inability to turn myself into a small ball below for proof).
Minutes 25 to 33: Exhale Core Fusion Pilates
Ever since discovering this video on YouTube, I’ve yet to exclude it from my indoor workout routine. I love the swaying motions; the slow, methodical movements; the fact that you don’t ever have to stand (except for the warm-up, which I usually skip). Best of all, the Pilates workout also incorporates glute strenghtening, meaning I can touch upon the areas that are usually most affected by piriformis syndrome while ensuring no physical therapist ever tells me I have a weak ass again.
Minutes 33 to 41: 8-Minute Abs
You know I can’t resist a man in a spandex onesie who shouts out, “Let’s go gang!” Also, I really appreciate how approximately 3 seconds after he says “30 more seconds,” you’ve suddenly got only 10 seconds to go. It’s efficiency at its finest.
To be honest, this video is silly. But what it does for me is to segment each area of abdominal crunches into even, 45-second intervals with a high-pitched “beep.” To amplify the workout, I hold and lift 8-pound weights while crunching up, which is probably in horrible form, but it makes me feel like a beast.
Minute 41 to 42: Plank
Ouch. My lack of push-ups as of late are starting to affect my arm strength.
Minutes 42 to 45: Arms
Otherwise known as flailing my arms with weights until muscles re-appear.
Minute 45 to 46: Plank
More ouch. Has it really been that long since my push-up kick that a minute is all I can hold?
Minute 46 to 46 (and 20 seconds): Headstand
I’ve really come to love a good yogi headstand in the morning, especially when listening to sweet tracks that have made their way into my repertoire. Among them: Poolside’s Harvest Moon (never thought I’d find such a great and totally groove-worthy rendition of this oldie), Axwell Mash-up of Beating of my Heart and Sweet Disposition (a perfect blend of 2 upbeat songs), Madeon’s Finale (I mean, this one is just awesome).
Minute 46 (and 20 seconds) to 48: Plank
I thought about calling this one “watch my body shake in the mirror,” but figured plank had a better ring to it.
Minutes 48 to 54: Procrastinate
This was about the time that Noah woke up (remember, he was sleeping this whole time on the bed next to me; he’s a night runner) and I got antsy, and so after roughly 6 minutes of asking him what else I should do, I threw in the towel.
I had a lot more fun on Wednesday morning with my indoor strength training and yoga workout than I have in a while. Maybe it was the music. Maybe it was because my routine consisted of such a variety of movements, both challenging and relaxing at once. Or maybe, it was the fact that I’m finally understanding the benefit of this whole running-every-other-day thing. Regardless, it was a great way to start the day and an even better way to occupy myself until Thursday’s run, which would hopefully be less muggy and as glorious as Blue.
- What are your go-to exercises when all you’ve got is a yoga mat, free-weights, and the small space between one piece of furniture and another?