The day after Billy's Muay Thai fight, I was feeling a little under the weather and by Monday I knew it was full-blown sickness coming on. Sniffles were giving way to a sore throat, and eventually the inklings of a cough appeared. By Wednesday, I was feeling really gross but I knew I couldn't miss a workout with Sandy. One of the girls in the group training, Sam, was also feeling sick. The two of us groaned and wheezed our way through lunges and squats. We passed each other clean tissues, and helped each other up off the mats. At home, I took a hot shower and tried to convince myself that I did the right thing by working out.
By Thursday, I was completely miserable. I got through work and by the time I made it home, I was ready to pull on sweats, make a cup of tea, and watch the Teen Mom 2 marathon. But Thursday is yoga day, and I've really been digging that class; I wanted to go. I was worried that I might get other people sick or just not be able to do my best. But I decided to play it by ear and leave if it got too bad. I arrived only five minutes before class and quickly realized that I was the only one there. My instructor Wes didn't seem to mind so we embarked on a one-on-one yoga adventure together. I told him I wasn't feeling well but he still thought it would be a good thing for me to take the class. Vinyasa yoga requires strictly nose breathing, but Wes understood that was not really an option. Surprisingly though, as class moved forward, my death breaths turned into real sun breaths as the congestion cleared. Midway through, I realized that I was no longer stuffy or foggy headed at all, and I felt 100% better...no lie! Getting that one-on-one time was absolutely amazing too. Wes was able to help me focus more on my form, and took me through a few poses that I didn't think I could handle. It was a tough workout, but I felt great.
After class, I chatted with Wes for a bit about my fitness goals, and told him how badly I wanted to lose weight. He said something that really stuck with me. He told me that many people find that as their yoga practices progress, they tend to think less about how their bodies look and more about how they feel. They gain an acute awareness of how the body is working for them, and learn to respect its abilities and strengths. Although I know there is no way I will give up on my desires to lose the weight, I can definitely see his point. Even though I have only been practicing for a month, I do feel that spark of awe when my body bends into a pose that I thought would be impossible. That feeling is a high that lasts the rest of the night, and I think that the more I practice, the longer it will begin to extend. I noticed today in fact that I was feeling surprisingly upbeat and happy.
Looking back on my teenage years and regular, committed Tai Chi practice, I know that the same thing happened back then. I had a really difficult time as a teen. I was full of a lot of angst and emotions and often took my negative feelings out in ways that were really detrimental to my health. But during and after class, all of those bad feelings disappeared. The positive vibe didn't always last, but as my commitment grew, so did that feeling. I truly feel that had it not been for discovering this ancient form of exercise, I would have had a much harder time coping with life back then.
I'm looking forward to continuing both yoga and Tai Chi and seeing where they will take my spirits and hopefully my body. I know I need to continue with my workouts and keep trying to eat better, but I think feeling happier and respecting my body more through those practices will make handling the hard stuff a little easier.
Published On: February 15, 2011