Okay, I’m coming clean. I did not go to a single yoga class all summer. Yep, you got it right, not one. Not even in Cape Cod, where one of my favorite teachers resides during the summer.
Now for the other half of my confession. I did yoga almost everyday. There were a few days of rest tucked in here or there. I was on a mission to heal my achy hips, build some arm and leg muscles, and see if I could break 100 miles on the bike in one week. So I hit the gym, and the road hard.
As part of my routine for both gym days and riding days, the last segment of my daily routine was 20-30 minutes of yoga. I truly love down dog after a sweaty work out and pigeon feels so good when you practice it yin yoga-style and hold it in pure release for 2-3 minutes on each side. Head-to-knee pose was my favorite of the seated forward folds. I wanted my yoga practice to serve me. And now after over a dozen years of practicing, the poses my body needs just effortlessly come to me as I make the time to explore.
At week one I even admitted I was willing to sacrifice some flexibility to gain some muscle. By the time week nine came around, I explored a few more poses and found I had actually gained flexibility! More of my hand could touch the floor in forward bends, and some other poses were easier too. That was a big, and welcome, surprise.
Combining yoga with the riding and weight lifting produced long lean muscles, kept my daily exercise grounded and kept me injury free. I love lifting weights but the one or two days that I had to rush out and miss my last yoga segment left me cranky and sore the next day. Yoga complimented each workout and sealed the experience so I was set for a productive and focused day.
One thing I did miss from my yoga class was the community. Practicing together with others in a space the teacher makes for you is something special. So with the fall here, I’m back to my Tuesday 6am yoga class. It’s nice to see friends again, and re-discover some of the poses I missed this summer.
So this week while you’re at home, get on the floor…you don’t really even need a mat. Just play and make your practice work for you. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Let your body be your guide to the poses that feel good. The body has an amazing wisdom if we can just get out of the way.
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