It’s been awhile! I’m sorry I haven’t posted in forever. In my defence, though, I’ve been traipsing around Europe and preparing for my big move! Plus, I’m still in a bit of denial that I’m no longer traveling. Exploring countries by myself with the help of a few friends, old and new, along the way was the best experience of my life. Unforgettable memories include…
Needless to say, staying fit wasn’t exactly at the very top of my list while I was travelling. There was no way I was going to say “No” to all the delicious pastries, scones, brats, schnitzel, mussels, steaks, waffles, fries, shrimps on toast, and chocolates (ok, I had some McDonalds too…) while I was on vacation. That’s codswallop. I was a pig and I loved every second! Now that I’ve returned, it’s time to get back on track with eating clean and keeping up with my cardio and strength routines.
I decided to try a little something different by attending a Yoga class this week. Oh. My. God. Or, should I say Ommm My God (get the title now?). It was brutal. At one point I wished that my brain could send direct messages to this blog so that it could have recorded my exact thought process during the class. I was struggling between trying not to fall over and trying not to laugh at myself. There everyone was trying to achieve inner peace while I was trying to convince my inner thighs to stay strong.
As I painfully trembled through Warrior Two pose, my thighs and knees rebelling by the second, I wondered how many other countless women had gone to a yoga class to find their center and achieve inner peace and instead found inner pain and a lot of creative mental curse phrases (I won’t share mine. My mom reads my blog, I think). Do they all walk away feeling a little shell-shocked and nauseous, like I did? Do they go back? Did that seventy-year-old man in the front doing headstands (without support) as warm-ups start off wanting to die with each Downward Dog? There were a few men and women in the class that were significantly older and I found that they bested us all! I was intimidated and impressed at the same time.
There were a few moments (probably two) where I felt graceful and steady during the class. The rest of the time, I was an inflexible mess. Every time we went on our hands and knees, my mind was screaming, “Child’s pose, for the love of God!” … only to go back into wrist-shattering planks. My instructor was fantastic and provided a lot of physical and verbal support, but my body just refused to hold certain positions and bend most ways. A method that I found most helpful was to think, “If Buffy can kick the asses of three vampires at once, I can bend…my…knee…DAMNIT!” Having a clear mind and embracing the physicality of the moment was a little far from my reach.
As I walked back to my car, I called my best friend and my first words were, “I think I need to throw up”. I spent the 20 minute drive home making her laugh hysterically at my verbal reenactment of the 75 minute class. Then the strangest thing happened. I sat down to eat a delicious salad (lettuce, grapes, deli chicken, shaved Parmesan cheese, and sweet onion dressing) and, slowly, my body started to feel really loose. The searing pain that my joints were enduring began to fade away. I felt noodle-like—floppy and relaxed.
So maybe I didn’t feel like my heart opened up (more like my chest seized up at some points) and I definitely didn’t sink into my palms and toes (although I really tried hard to channel as much Buffy-badassery as possible). I did feel significantly more stretched and fresh after the fact. For an exercise that is more about maintaining stillness in a certain position, you sweat like hell.
So. Would I do it again? Scarily enough…yes.
For those of you in the Toronto/Etobicoke area looking for a Yoga studio, I definitely recommend Bliss. The instructors go above and beyond and the classes are small enough that there is both group energy and personal peace of mind (well…you know, once your body stops fighting you and you no longer need to imagine a vampire or three will attack you if you fall out of Eagle’s Pose). They have a variety of classes, so pick a gentler one if you’re a beginner. I take a lot of Pilates classes so I felt I could handle Vinyasa Power. I survived but maybe I should have started smaller.
What about you guys? Do you have a beginner’s Yoga/Pilates story to share? How about some tips to stay fit while travelling? I’d love to hear your thoughts!