I promised myself that I wouldn’t work this weekend (beyond my tutoring hours). That meant no grading, no planning, etc. Anything I needed to get done I would do Friday and Monday. I panicked a bit when my mind/body put up extreme resistance to doing any work on Friday; I almost decided to grade a bit on Saturday or a bit on Sunday to feel better. It would be my decision to do it, then, not a “should”, right? But I ended up staying clear, and as I write this, working on my grading on Monday, I’m glad.
Because I had a fantastic weekend. I got to experience what my life is like without schoolwork. And it was a little odd, let me tell you. For a while, I was quite lost. I caught up on my e-mail and Facebook, I did some reading and writing, some meditation, and then I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to be doing. Sometimes I just sat. I went for a walk with Bowser. I did some simple exercises and some Zumba. Went food shopping. Helped Brian with meals. (He’s really the master chef.) We saw three great movies from the “nearly new” $1 shelf: Sherlock Holmes, Contagion, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. All fantastic movies. (What are the odds of that working out?!) It was great. I’ve been trying to “just BE”, and I think taking schoolwork out of the picture was a great help to that. Not doing any housework felt great, too, although I know I’ve got to catch up on that at some point so that I don’t feel like a complete slob. . . 🙂
I’m thankful for a non-busy weekend that refreshed me for the week. And now, back to grading. 🙂
If you ever think you’re in fantastic shape and want a reality check, take a new exercise class. Seriously. Also, if your fiancée tells you that you won’t be able to take a shower for the next day because he just re-caulked the tub, don’t sigh in relief that your exercise for the day is only yoga.
Today I went on a mini-adventure and tried out a free class at a new yoga studio. As I entered the heated room full of 60 (yeah, 60) mats and bodies, I was filled with anticipation. Who doesn’t like to mix things up and try something new once in a while?
And then we started the class. Within 15 minutes I wanted out. Within a half hour I was hoping we were almost done (we weren’t – I caught a glimpse of the cellphone my neighbor had in front of her, and my heart sank: only 12:34, and I had thought we were about done already). But at some point the class finally wound down, and I realized I had loosened up a bit — even though I wasn’t enjoying the lack of breaks and the sweat drenching my shirt and dripping down my face.
So, overall, I’m glad I went, but I badly missed my regular yoga instructor. Here is the rundown of what I enjoyed about the new class and what I enjoy with my regular class.
New Class: Free Strip-Mall-Yoga Class
- Good Workout – I did feel like I went to an exercise class. A lot of movement and good breathing.
- Good Flexibility – I was touching my toes by the end of class!
- Challenging Moves – The instructor added advanced modifications which looked like an interesting challenge!
- Detox and Chakra-Talk – I have been talking lately about how I need to detox, and I’ve also been learning more about Chakras. The instructor brought up how yoga is great for detoxing and talked about how certain poses open up particular Chakras.
- Balancing Pose with Others – My favorite part of class was one of the balancing poses because of the bonding that resulted. We were packed in that room like (insert cliché analogy here) such that our mats were practically touching each other. During one particular pose – I believe the “airplane pose” – we have our back bent forward, our arms out the sides, and one leg in the air, perpendicular to our other leg. The instructor encouraged us to hold onto our neighbors to help balance. I have an incredibly hard time balancing, so I didn’t want to put my neighbors at risk, but I gave in and tried it, and it worked! I was grounded and able to balance better, and I felt a sense of community with our little row of airplanes.
Regular Class: Park District Yoga
- Not So Much Sweat – When I was done with the experimental class I felt completely disgusting. I don’t even sweat that much with Zumba or the elliptical! I know that part of it was the temperature and part of it was the movement. And I get it . . .but I didn’t like it. I barely sweat in my regular yoga class.
- Really Feel Relaxed – In the new class we didn’t take any breaks. In my regular class we make a gentle transition from movement to movement so that I can grab some water, retie my hair, or grab my towel for my modifications, without freaking out. I also am able to really concentrate on my breathing, rather than on what the heck a “crescent moon” is or whether I’m going to collapse when I go from plank to lower plank to upward dog to lower dog in a matter of 30 seconds.
- Really Feel Stretched Out and Worked Out – though the pace is slow, we hold poses for a long time, so the muscles are really strengthened. I often struggle up the stairs after a good session.
- Feel Confident – I’m at about the same level as everyone else in class — a little tighter in a few areas, and more flexible in other areas – so I feel I fit right in.
- Stretched Important Areas – My regular instructor usually starts with a gentle warm-up that loosens the back and neck and gets us thinking about our breathing. In this class we dove right in with “Extended Child’s Pose” (which is NOT a relaxing pose if you have tight feet like I do.) I was thinking: “Wait . . . don’t we work up to this?” I much prefer “Embryo” . . . Makes me feel like I’m back in the womb. . . ok creepy. . . moving on!. . .
- Everything Explained – When my regular instructor calls out a pose, she names and then describes it, which benefits newbies AND people who forget which pose was which. The new instructor was well-intentioned, asking us to raise our hands if we were new to yoga, but then she jumped right into class, calling out poses left-and-right, and only occasionally explaining what a pose was. She also didn’t direct us on how to perform the pose correctly, something that my regular instructor is very particular about. For example, for “Downward Dog”, my regular instructor insists that newbies watch her do it before they even attempt it, and then she walks over to each of them and helps them do it so that they don’t do it incorrectly and hurt their shoulders. (“Push the floor away!”)
- Modifications – My regular instructor is very good about suggesting modifications for those who might have joint issues, flexibility issues, etc. For example, I need to have a towel under my bottom for the forward leg stretches because otherwise I’m stuck and can’t lean forward at all. Also, for certain warrior/warrior-like poses, I often opt to keep my head down if my neck is not feeling up to par. (Many years ago I took a yoga class and had a messed up neck the next day. Coincidence?)
- Older Crowd – You’d think I’d like a younger crowd, but I don’t. An older crowd is more comfy. I don’t feel as competitive and inadequate with my regular groups. In today’s session the teacher was joking about how some students might be recovering from hangovers, and I was like “What?” and looked around and was like “Oh . . .”
As I look back, I see that my regular class is clearly more satisfying. I wasn’t planning on taking on another class, anyway, but I thought I would see what’s what. It’s good to see a little more of the yoga community and what else is out there. And maybe I can up the challenge and convince my current instructor to offer her intermediate class again. In the meantime, I have plenty to work on . . .
“I place fewer and fewer demands upon others, and especially myself. I am free to commune with nature, work, play, read, or just do nothing.” – from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s Living the Wisdom of the Tao (75th verse)
I badly need this today!