I started a new yoga class last night, and I am hurting today. Ow my arms. Ow my shoulders. Ow those random muscles in my chest. It hasn’t been 24 hours since my class, and I am once again respectful that different exercises use different muscle groups. No matter how many Pilates pushups I’ve managed since my last yoga class, they are not the same as downward dog, or sun salute, or any of the poses I thought I could assume last night though I haven’t been in class for months.
At one time you couldn’t have convinced me that I could gain strength, build serious muscle with no dumbbells or machines in sight, with nothing but the weight of my body and the floor to work with.
So many physical arts that give you strength and balance require nothing but practice, time, you, and a patch of floor: yoga, Pilates, ballet and all the dance forms, tai chi, kung fu, and all the form-based martial arts, plain old calisthenics and isometric exercises – your pushups, sit-ups, lunges and squats.
I’m in a hotel room in Sarnia, Canada, tonight with my two buddies, heading for Toronto for our half marathon on Sunday. Because I’m sore, I know a little bit of yoga will help my muscular hangover, get the blood in these muscles moving, and keep that soreness from being worse in the morning. There’s a tiny patch of land between our two queen-size beds, and I’m grabbing it for a stretch and a few yoga postures before sleep.
With these classes in my head, the movements patterned in my bones, I can take my gym with me anywhere. The rub is, I have lost all of my excuses for not working out. The good news is, I have lost all of my excuses for not working out.
Consider making friends with the floor by studying a new form of movement. Try on videos or take classes that give you strength, grace, a way to move and grow stronger wherever you are in the world. Any time. Any place. No dues. No machines. No waiting.
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