Sometimes it feels like getting to yoga is the most challenging aerobic activity of the day. I don’t really know how it happens, but I regularly show up at the studio nearly out of breath from the race to arrive at class on time. It isn’t exactly the most zen-like way to begin my practice and each time it happens I swear to do better next time, but…
The other day I left my house for a Yin class with 3 minutes to spare, according to Waze. Perfect – just enough time to put air in the tires of my neglected wagon. I pulled into Stewart’s to witness a woman pulling the air hose towards her vehicle where she proceeded to fill each of her tires, carefully and slowly. By the second tire, I knew there was little hope for my making it to the studio on time. Despite the odds not being in my favor, I waited, filled my tires and continued on my designated route until I rounded a corner and landed right in the middle of some weirdly early rush hour traffic. It just wasn’t happening. I called the studio and cancelled my reservation.
I pulled my car over and spent 10 minutes furiously googling alternative studios and other options to achieve zen. No dice. At this point, I was completely amped up and stressed, needing some yoga even more than I had 20 minutes previously. A sudden thought occurred to me – YouTube! There had to be something on YouTube that would help.
I searched “Yin Yoga” and found Kassandra whose 40 minute prop-less class was one of the first returns. From the description, it sounded like precisely what I was looking for and I excitedly rolled out my mat on my living room floor. Despite Jeter compressing a tennis ball noisily between his jaws right near my ear, I managed to ignore most everything beyond the cues given by the instructor and stayed mentally on my mat. The limited number of poses were held for a deliciously long amount of time and my body was fairly cooperative as it melted into the floor. By the time shavasana came around, I was in a much better place than where I had begun my practice.
Since the first Kassandra class on Wednesday, I’ve taken 3 others each varying between 40 and 60 minutes. The yoga style has consistently been Yin, but the focus has ranged from anxiety relief and relaxation to hip opening. Without exception, all have been terrific. YouTube yoga might not offer the same sense of shared breathing and community that comes from being in a studio, but in a pinch, it could be just where you need to be when you can’t to where you want to go.
A perennial goal in my life is to practice more yoga. There’s no part of my life that isn’t positively impacted by my taking some time from the day to get on my mat and I am trying to remain cognizant of that, despite my impulse to eliminate attending a class when my schedule gets jammed.
Yesterday afternoon I took a class which featured a style of yoga of which I was unfamiliar – Yin Yoga. This fairly modern variation of yoga focuses on remaining in asanas or poses for extended lengths of time, like 2 – 5 minutes. Since my hips have been screaming particularly loudly recently from running
and not stretching, Yin sounded like exactly what I needed.
One of my favorite instructors, Aaron, lead the class and he had us begin with a breathing exercise which provided the perfect foundation for what followed. Inhaling slowly, holding for a couple of beats and then exhaling very slowly, reset my mind and body for the practice and gave me focal point to revisit when holding a pose became most challenging. The poses were mostly done while on our mats with few standing asanas. Props were limited to a blanket and a bolster and the room was warm rather than hot.
This style of yoga isn’t what I typically go for – I mean, it’s all about being still and that is not my strength. But, yesterday? It was exactly what I needed and I left that class feeling incredibly centered and balanced. Because the asanas are held for such sustained periods of time, the practice becomes very meditative in a way only possible for me when I’m moving slowly yoga-wise. As I mentioned, I’ve been experiencing a lot of discomfort and I think Yin might be part of the solution as I work to be prepared for 3 1/2 marathons in 3 months. Have you practiced Yin? Had hip issues.
The Super Bowl was already weeks ago (Remember? The Patriots won. Again.) but there’s something I’ve been thinking about ever since the big game…why would celebrities, like really rich and successful public figures, appear in advertisements or commercials about products which they weren’t enthusiastic about truly using? All of those actors and sports figures in the big budget commercials, do you think they need the money? How much money would you want to be paid for promoting and intrinsically endorsing something you genuinely appreciate and use? Would you want more money if it was item or service that you didn’t actually avail yourself of?
if you know me, you know I don’t value money very much. I appreciate it and understand working to have enough,* but I certainly don’t believe the accumulation of it is my life’s work. And, while I’d happily consider accepting money from companies whose products I truly use, I’m just about equally pleased to just share the following list with you of things I’m really loving right now. Here goes…
Great, color, great fabric
- New Max Mara framed eyeglasses.
- My Waterpik, although I wish the cord was retractable.
- Concert and airplane tickets
- The Bleecker Salad at Dove and Deer
- An Unlimited Subscription for Rent the Runway
- Walks/Runs/Skis with Jeter at Albany Muni
- My clunkiest Frye’s
- Aaron’s 11:15 class on Saturdays at the Latham Hot Yoga Spot.
- Aldi’s for produce and baking supplies.
- Kat von D’s Studded Lipstick in Double Dare.
- Van Morrison’s Poetic Champions Compose – I forgot how much I love this record.
- Hot bubble baths. I can not get enough of my tub these days!
- Midnight blue velvet skinnies from Gap bought on super sale for $12.
- The lushness of my plants.
- Wednesday night date night.
- CBD roll-on applied to my sore muscles.
- A true sense of owning my happiness.
- Spending time with someone who makes me laugh.
- Feeling comfortable in my skin.
What would be on your list?
*however you define “enough.”
Filed under Albany, beauty, Dinner, Eating, Exercise, Fashion, favorites, Food, friends, ideas, Local, musings, Normanskill, Observations, Recommendations, running, Uncategorized, x-country skiing, yoga
Wow, January! You were really something. During your calendar page time, I made my way home from California, spent an evening with friends in New Paltz and had a quick getaway to Miami Beach. There were numerous runs, some yoga, lots of golf course walks with Jeter and the first ski of the season. It was a month full of living life and spending time with people whose company I enjoy. 2019, I think you’re going to be a good one…
As I spent a little time reflecting on the past month, I couldn’t help but recognize that it didn’t matter where I physically was, wherever I was I felt happy. I guess this internal happiness I’ve been working to cultivate travels well. It really is true, you know, wherever you go, that’s where you are.
It didn’t matter if I was traveling alone or with someone else, if the sun was shining or the wind blowing, or where I physically was – my general state of emotional being was positive. I felt lucky to be wherever I happened to be, even when it wasn’t a place with a scenic view or the warmth of sun on my face. I’m alive. I have family and friends and people with whom I enjoy sharing my time. I have a home and a job. My health is good and my body (mostly) does what I ask it to do. And, there isn’t a single day that I don’t appreciate every single one of those things.
One of the best gifts about growing older is learning new lessons about life and oneself, and how those two things relate. I think the happiness I’m currently experiencing comes in part to my recent realization that beyond my children, the only one I’m obligated to is myself. I’ve known for a long time that I alone am responsible for my own happiness and security, but I’m starting to have a different understanding about what that means. To me, at least.
The commitment I have to being happy, to living my best life, comes with an emotional independence that I hadn’t previously considered. While I most certainly owe honesty to any romantic partner I am with, I’m not obligated to sacrifice my needs to a relationship which may not fill my soul in the manner in which I desire. This is, to me, a rather radical understanding of myself and the state of being linked emotionally with another. I don’t have to stifle my feelings or longings because my ultimate commitment is to me. I only get to do this life thing once and I’m unwilling to experience it as an observer. I want to live it. All of it.
How is the new year treating you? What are you doing to make your life one that is well lived? Are you living your best life?
Filed under aging, Albany, Brunch, California, friends, love, marriage, moms, musings, Observations, Random, relationships, running, travel, Uncategorized, upstate New York, vacation, winter, x-country skiing, yoga
The running here is magical. I’ve been known to take a run, drive back “home,” hear a good song and take a second run. True story.
Do I look like a desert girl to you? I said desert, not dessert, folks… As a fair skinned, half Irish person, I never imagined that I would be so captivated by the desert, specifically Palm Springs, but I absolutely love it there. There’s something about the dry heat, spectacular mountains and clear, cool nights that keeps me coming back for more and I’m excited to be visiting a close friend who lives there soon.
Have you been there? It truly is a desert oasis – gorgeous homes, beautiful people and a climate that during the winter and spring months offers fantastic running in the hills surrounding the city. Palm Springs is the place where I ate my first Mexican food and drank my first margarita, which obviously makes it forever special. I’ve also taken the aerial tramway to the top of the San Jacintos for a “hike,” spent a significant amount of time hanging out poolside, and, way back in the day, went as close to clubbing as I’ve ever been. It’s a fun, cool town and I’m looking forward to getting back there this winter.
Now, here’s where you come in – beyond the experiences I’ve already enjoyed in PS, what should I do when I’m there? I’ve been drawn to a mid-century modern aesthetic in recent years and am thinking that an architectural house tour might be fun. Have you ever done that there? The last time I was in Palm Springs I found a nice little hot yoga studio that I may hit up again, but maybe you have a recommendation for a place for a challenging class or two, preferably not Bikram? There seem to be hot springs in the area and I would love to soak outdoors in some hot and bubbly water. Suggestions? And, lastly, maybe you’ve been to the surrounding area? What else should I try to see when I’m there?
Filed under beauty, California, Exercise, favorites, friends, Hiking, ideas, Recommendations, running, Uncategorized, winter, yoga
September, with its temperatures that can swing 40 degrees in 48 hours, is flying by. If I look at my calendar too far ahead, I get palpitations, so I’m trying to be in the moment as much as possible. I don’t want to miss anything in my haste to get through a month that is chock full of events and activities. Yoga helps.
When it comes to my practice, I’m happy to take a variety of classes. Fortunately, The Hot Yoga Spot is always upping their game and offering classes in cool new locations – like June Farms or, as I experienced Sunday, the Warehouse District’s Fort Orange Brewing.
Class (approximately 60 minutes) was a total bargain at $12, including a beer. I arrived about 10 minutes early and grabbed a spot in the rear, away from the open garage door that faced the street. Our instructor was terrific – her voice projected well and despite a lack of mirrors, her vocal cues kept us all engaged and focused.
Although I’ve probably been guided through chaturanga to upward dog dozens and dozens of times, something clicked for me during yesterday’s practice. I finally, while in plank, shifted my body forward before bending my arms and the flow was completely different. It felt awesome. Today, my arms and shoulders feel tender, a sensation that I welcome as evidence of my need to use those particular muscles more frequently. The cool evening also provides me with the ideal excuse to take an indulgent bath. Win-win.
I’ll be stretching those traps and triceps again this Saturday at the 2nd annual Yogapalooza. See you there?
Filed under Albany, beer, Brunch, drinking, Events, Exercise, favorites, Local, Recommendations, sunday, yoga
When I first starting hearing about goat yoga, I was puzzled. Outdoors yoga is kind of a hit or miss for me and I didn’t really understand the appeal of having a small barnyard animal messing around with my downward dog. What was the point of that? I take my yoga somewhat seriously, preferring a 75 minute class in a super hot room. I mean, I go to yoga to stretch and sweat, not to be climbed on by farm animals, with the potential for poop as an added bonus.
But, when your dear friend escapes unscathed from an earthquake and wants to go to goat yoga – you go. Especially when your favorite studio, The Hot Yoga Spot, is sponsoring the class and it is taking place in a spot as beautiful as June Farms. So, off we went on a recent Tuesday.
We arrived early, as suggested, and had plenty of time to use the lovely bathrooms and stroll down to the goat pasture. We set up our mats and were eventually part of a group of approximately 70 attendees, outnumbering the goats by a solid 60 people. The field we were in was reasonably flat and surprisingly devoid of bugs, one of my biggest distractions usually when doing yoga outdoors.
Our instructor was terrific, balancing traditional yoga with a lighthearted approach when it came to the goats’ participation. The goats were not incredibly interactive, preferring to fill their faces with leaves within their reach, but a few times they did prompt laughter with their antics. They have a real curiosity and were interested in the folks who were closest to their feeding spot, exploring their mats, shoes and other possessions. There was some pooping, but I don’t believe the goats directly sullied anyone, and while their amorous activities elicited some giggles, we basically did yoga and they did goat. It was great.
When the class ended there was a crowd trying to create an Instagram worthy pose and the goats didn’t disappoint. With the slightest encouragement, along with the tantalizing offer of fresh leaves, the goats were happy to “top” one’s table by climbing up on one’s back. I personally didn’t feel the need to take it that far, but it was fun watching the antics.
Goat yoga at June Farms will be continue through the month of September on Tuesday evenings and I recommend Kay’s as the perfect place for pizza and a beer after class. Beyond that, there’s The Hot Yoga Spot and their multiple locations to get your asana on and plenty of local places to get a good beer.