Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What is it about yoga

Something about yoga just makes me feel so...awesome. I was trying to think through the reasons why on my way home tonight, so I'll take a stab at breaking down what parts of yoga practice I'm enjoying lately:

Feeling like a person that does yoga. Somewhere along the line, I've created an idea of nearly every type of athlete in my head. These imaginary people are probably a mix of people I've known combined with whatever persona the media has crafted for the given sport. For various reasons, runners and yogis have always been my most coveted among the athlete personas (and oh hey, what a coincidence, look at what I do for exercise!). I don't know quite what it is about yogis--perhaps it is the relaxed attitude, or maybe it is the 'I eat whole foods and only do yoga but am strong and thin and never have to watch my calories' shtick they've got going. Or their perky butts. I don't know. But what I know is I want to be them, so when I go to yoga class, I get a little bit of fake-it-til-ya-make-it feeling going on, like I get to adopt the yogi persona for the night and feel cooler and more at ease than I actually am.

Wearing all my pretty yoga gear. Okay "all my" is probably a stretch because I have one pair of crops that I like to wear to yoga. But I do have a few tanks that I like to rotate, and in general, I think that my standard yoga outfit of cropped leggings + Lululemon CRB is quite flattering! Plus I have this great slouchy grey sweater from Urban Outfitters yearsss ago, back when I thought skinny jeans + slouchy cardigans were a great look for my body type (hint: they aren't). So now the sweater is mostly relegated to an around-the-house sweater because it is cozy and has giant pockets for toting tissues around. But then I realized it was the perfect sweater to wear over my slim-fitting yoga clothes before and after class. The first time I wore it--bam. I felt instantly chic and like I could reasonably run errands after class even though I was wearing leggings as pants (butt-covering FTW). Plus it was great to get more use out of an old piece of clothing.

Not feeling totally gross if I don't jump in the shower right away. Let's be clear--I never actually feel totally compelled to take a shower post workout. I do, mostly because I know I need to and out of consideration for Dan. But I'm normally pretty happy to linger in my own sweat for a little bit after a workout (am I completely gross? Don't answer that) and wait until after dinner/clean up etc. to shower, or at least until Dan starts giving me verbal nudges about not being a dirty person. But yoga is the perfect exercise for a lazy person like me--I get sweaty, but not that gross red-faced, salt chunks coming off my skin sweaty that running makes me. I can often justify skipping a hair wash too and just using dry shampoo, which, serious bonus!

Pretending like I have friends. Okay so I do have friends, just not any that live near me. Plus, I've never really been one to hang out with friends mid-week--during the week, I'm all about function over fun. Just trying to get my shit done so that I have actual time on the weekend to devote to my social life. That being said, there is something nice and novel about interacting with people other than Dan or my coworkers during the week. Getting to yoga a few minutes early and chatting and then participating in a class with others makes me feel part of something and social while still checking something off the list!

Getting my strength training done. I don't mind strength training, honestly. Sometimes I get super into it at the gym, and I definitely like the powerful-strong-awesome feeling it gives me. But I'm all about it for like...once a week, max. I get bored and distracted and just want to get in and get out at the gym. So yoga ends up being the perfect second strength session per week. I still get that great muscle burn the next day, but it keeps me interested and helps work different parts I'm not normally great about hitting (oh hello random tiny ankle muscles and inner/outer thighs). Also, yoga is just the perfect complement to running, much more so than regular strength training. I feel sore but still flexible after yoga, which sometimes doesn't happen with normal strength training. It's enough to get a workout, but not so much that I don't want to run the next day.

Feeling so effing bendy and relaxed. Seriously, this one just tops them all. I leave yoga most of the time feeling like a beautiful, bendy pile of mush. None of my other exercise sessions leave me feeling so relaxed and serene, but simultaneously strong and flexible. It's a great change of pace from high intensity running!

Today's workout
Yoga, obviously! A 75 minute vinyasa class. A really great class--I'm liking the Tuesday night instructor. She's in school currently for some sort of meditative arts degree (??), so she likes to use some of her techniques during a slightly extended shavasana (she lets the class go a little long--doesn't cut our practice time!). I end up feeling even more relaxed than normal after she guides us through some deep breathing/visualization/body tensing and relaxing.

Also I held dancer for a while and didn't fall over. Growth!

Today's eats
Okay not today's because Dan and I shared a frozen pizza tonight for dinner, and though delicious, it was not deemed picture worthy. Last night's was the very picture of health and god was it so boring and bland, even the parts I put cheese on. All I really wanted was eggs and potato hash, which I should have just made, but I wanted to use up the kabocha squash and make some quinoa for the week (and the tofu needed to be used up from last week). So now I have leftovers of the blandest dinner ever, so, yay?

Even random bits of cheese could not save this meal.

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