Saturday, March 12, 2011

finding my time for sanity

I'm beginning to feel a little better over here, hunkered down at home. I made a point to shower and get dressed yesterday; the last couple of weeks have seen me mainly in sweats, rarely freshly showered. I've spent every free (and not so free) moment working and am beginning to feel a little more on top of things in that department. 

My work time is my time. And my working out time is my time too. Leighton made a comment the other day about how much I've been heading over to the YMCA lately, that I'd be getting really fit here soon. The point, however, isn't just or even primarily physical fitness. Through exercise and particularly yoga, I find strength and balance. Now more than ever, I need that. 

When I was pregnant with Lilly, practicing yoga was the only exercise I could do till the end that didn't hurt or feel uncomfortable. This is me just days before labor started practicing pre-natal yoga with Shiva Rea.

After 64 hours of labor even walking hurt for months. But yoga still felt good, and so I continued with Shiva Rae's post-natal yoga.

YogaKids, Vol. 3: Silly to Calm
Now I'm trying to nurture an appreciation for yoga in Lilly, practicing yoga with her along the instructions of Marsha Wenig in Yoga Kids: From Silly to Calm. I don't want to push it; that would be very un-yogi and really just kill the joy of it. But Lilly is getting more and more into it; sometimes she'll break into some of the poses spontaneously and I love that.

I originally started practicing yoga as a grad student back in the mid to late nineties. I started practicing then to find my body which I had fallen out of touch with. My life evolved around thinking and writing fueled by coffee and cigarettes. I was underweight and overworked, my back and shoulders constantly aching. 

I stopped smoking and started exercising as a college professor, still overworked, but also dealing with a difficult relationship. Becoming strong physically helped me find strength to put that relationship behind me.

I was never one to eagerly race to the gym, however. Not until I became a mom. Now more than ever I need to work out. I need to stretch my back and shoulders aching from carrying. To tread out frustration. To zone out on the elliptical machine while thinking through things, preferably to some upbeat tunes on my ipod. To feel awake again.


  1. Totally!!! One reason winter is so hard for me is that I end up missing a lot of runs. I mean, I'm a fairly hardcore outdoor year-round runner, but there are still a LOT of sub-zero and/or super icy days when I just can't run outside. (And running inside, like at the college rec center, where I get in free, just isn't the same for me.) And my hour of running, with my iPod on, is like medicine for my soul! I just put on my best music and go, and either think think think or don't think at all! I always come home feeling better, and I CRAVE it when I can't go. Don't get me wrong: I'm as lazy and unmotivated as the next person plenty of times, but most of the time my runs are my restorative times.

  2. p.s. I forgot to mention--being out in nature is restorative to me, too. That's a big part of it for me (and why the treadmill or indoor track isn't the same). I know everyone's different, and it's interesting how some moms I know can totally get in the zone on the treadmill or whatever. But when I need time to myself I need to be out in the air, seeing the view, feeling like a speck in the middle of something a lot bigger than me.

  3. Ah, I can relate to that about the outdoors. I get some of that at Heartwork yoga studio too. A sunny not too cold day like today would be beautiful for skiing in the Arboretum or a brisk walk (running hurts my knees). I used to walk or ski every Sunday morning with a friend, but now I use that time for work instead. Since Lilly's so happy playing in the child watch area at the YMCA, I don't have to give up time I have to myself to exercise that way, and can use it for writing instead ... But I do miss the Arb.


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