Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

So...What About Exercise?

Music: R & B on shuffle in iTunes

Today's smoothie: parsley, frozen strawberries, avocado, banana

Let me preface this post by saying that I've never been into team sports; I'm one of those people who have bad memories of waiting to be picked in gym class for kickball or volleyball. Oh, the dread. And, while I loved swimming, I was too chicken to go out for my school's swim team. But, growing up, from about age four, I took ballet until I was sixteen at both Pamela's School of Dance in Dearborn and the Rochester School of Ballet in Rochester. Needless to say, I wasn't a natural, however, I did learn some key things for which I'm forever grateful: discipline, grace, good posture, flexibility, and a deep love and appreciation for the arts, especially ballet and classical music (thanks, Mom!).

Anyone who has ever taken ballet knows how strenuous it is on the body. I was fortunate to never have injured myself but soreness and calloused feet were the norm. But the flexibility has stayed with me because I continue to practice daily yoga.

About twenty years ago, I took my first yoga class through Rochester Community Education with instructor Mariana Smith. She was wonderful; patient, attentive, and very knowledgeable. Her voice was soothing as she walked around the softly lit room (complete with meditative music playing in the background) during practice to correct here and there and offer alternative poses for those with knee or neck problems. Later, I took another class with a different instructor who did not do any of these things and I could see how some people could hurt themselves doing yoga.

I no longer take regular yoga classes (due to mostly expense and the fact that I prefer to do it solo) but I am thinking of taking the occasional class. I really need a new yoga mat, though; I'm currently using the same rug mat I've used since I started yoga and it has holes in it and is flaking onto my wood floors. Very bad. I'd be embarrassed to bring it to a class. I'm just worried about buying an expensive mat (they run between $45-65) and then having it be slippery.

Besides yoga, which I sometimes do twice per day (being underemployed such as I am), I walk for 30-45 minutes a day when the weather is nice. For me, that means over 40 degrees and sunny without any wind. I'm a big wimp about feeling cold. Here in Pittsburgh, the hilly streets create quite the workout to get the heart rate going.

Finally, I meditate every evening before I go to sleep for about 15-20 minutes. The best focusing technique for me is to picture the color white: white sand, white snow, white bright sun. Usually, at the beginning of a session, the white is smudged with lots of colors and, in my mind, I try to smooth white into my images. The more white, the deeper I'm getting into my meditation.

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