At a holiday party last night, I was chatting with a woman about Barre class. As we spoke about the ballet-inspired workout filled with deep plies and excruciating core work, I reminisced how I used to love taking that class. Though not much of a cardio workout — my butt was always sore the following day. It gave good results.
Then my series expired. I didn’t go back.
Often there are sales for this Barre studio (there’s one happening right now!) But my body isn’t craving that routine — even if it comes at half price. I’m onto something else in my cycle of exercise.
Fitness experts have long claimed the benefits of changing up a routine to work different muscle groups and continue building strength, stamina and effectiveness. But that’s not why I constantly switch. For me, it’s more of a mood thing. I like my exercise to fit into my lifestyle rather than vice versa.
For example, in yoga (which is exercise for the mind, body and soul) I recently felt a little frustrated with the gentle pace of the classes I’ve been taking. Though there is definitely a need for slow flow classes (and I probably need those more than most because of my propensity towards Type A behavior), I’m attending yoga about 4-5x a week, which leaves little time for my other, higher impact workouts. These days, I’m looking for more physicality from my yoga practice…so I’ve gone back to Ashtanga.
In the 90s I had a solid Ashtanga practice, Mysore style. I’d bike across Houston Street –fast and furious — to make the 7am. Ashtanga is an intense style of yoga — I think it made me a little aggressive back then. But this time around, I’m balancing it with more slow flow and meditation. And what is working really well for me with this series is the predictability. I always know what will come next. In life, when so much is uncertain and sometimes feels out of control — it’s nice to have some stability in my exercise routine. With Ashtanga it’s always 5 Sun Salutations followed by 5 rounds of Surya B and so on. It’s comforting. And still challenging. And it’s a very physical practice.
There have been times in my exercise cycle when I wasn’t doing anything at all. Obviously around childbirth and those years when M & GL were teenies this was the case. In fact, my yoga practice went on hiatus for years at that time. My primary exercise was walking allover town, baby sling slung on. I never considered that I’d quit working out. I had accepted where I was in the cycle, and how exercise was fitting into my lifestyle.
Now, I’m really into yoga. In a month I could be back at Barre. The beauty of the exercise cycle is it gives me exactly what I need.
Where are you in your exercise cycle?
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