No matter what I am doing for work, no matter where I live or how many offspring I am raising, there is one universal constant in my life, and here it is: Just about the most difficult thing I ever do is force myself to exercise on days I don’t feel like it. Maybe I want an afternoon cocktail on a day I was planning an evening run. Maybe one of my kids is cranky and doesn’t want to go to the gym. Maybe my knee is acting up again. Maybe I am hungry and tired and have too many loads of laundry waiting for me to fold.
I may lack energy, but one thing I never tire of is excuses.
This summer I’ve found a way to get moving that I enjoy doing and, for the first time in my life, don’t want to avoid. It’s yoga! Whether it’s for five minutes or an hour, I’ve been doing yoga almost every day, and I feel spectacular. There’s an extra spring in my step, and I can even notice a difference in my posture.
I got started when I promised myself I would exercise every day during the Olympics. I leave the yoga mat rolled up in the living room right next to where I do yoga, which makes even the excuse of “I don’t want to get up and find the yoga mat” a moo point. Sometimes I do it in front of the TV, which can make for challenging moments when I am snort-laughing at “Modern Family,” but it also provides a way for me to do something while I watch (hence why I also took up knitting).
The kids love to do yoga alongside me (the hubster came up with this post’s title–cute, huh?). I have vivid childhood memories of watching my mom work out to Jane Fonda and Jaclyn Smith tapes; I would stare longingly at her leotard and leg warmers and imagine the day I was a grown-up and could do workouts like her. When I was fourteen, I begged her to get special permission for me to take an adult yoga class with her at our local rec center, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Today I smile knowingly at my girls while they watch me (sans leotard and leg warmers), sensing the continuation of what is becoming a female family tradition.
The most surprising part about my daily yoga routine is that I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since training for the triathlon, and I’m not killing myself with 1.5 hour workouts to get that way. I still do cardiovascular exercise two or three times a week, but I no longer feel guilty when I don’t make it to the gym.
I change up my routine with DVDs from the library. I’ve been an avid power vinyasa yoga follower for years, and there seem to be an endless supply of yoga videos, even tailored to that specific type of yoga, waiting for me there. My favorites so far have been:
- Rodney Yee’s Gaiaim DVDs (especially “Ultimate Power Yoga”)
- anything by Shiva Rea (especially “Power Flow Yoga”; a disclaimer is that she is bound to say something to screw up your concentration along the lines of the following, and I quote: “Imagine skateboarding in the empty bowl of your pelvis.” Say what?!)
As a side note, yoga is a great way to stay fit during pregnancy. In my opinion, the single greatest preparation I did for natural childbirth was staying in shape with yoga poses. I’m even thinking of becoming a certified instructor. You can take a prenatal yoga class or do it at home. My favorite video is Jennifer Wolfe’s prenatal vinyasa yoga DVD.
So if you’re sitting there feeling a weakness creeping into your midsection, get up and get moving! I guarantee you’ll feel better in no time.