Oh, there you are abs. After two kids, and a few years of lackluster core workouts, I thought you were gone forever, but turns out you’re still there. Every time I sneeze or laugh, I painfully remember where you are.
I braved another yoga class last Saturday afternoon – 1 hour and 15 minutes of “Pure Core” advanced hot yoga class. We did 135 “Hollow Rock” exercises. I started off in the shape of a crescent, rocking nicely back and forth like I was supposed to. By the end I was crouched in the fetal position, grunting and hardly moving at all. I have some work to do on this one. We also did yoga squats or malasana. I thought regular squats were hard. This one keeps you at the bottom of the squat, where you live. Small pulses, so low, legs and butt on FIRE.
I went into this class a bit more prepared than the first one though. I rented a proper mat for $2 so as to not turn my cheap blue mat into a sweaty “slip and slide.” I brought a towel (win!) and a lock, and realized that Pure Yoga Studio is in fact, a hot yoga studio. Good to know.
Before I went to the 3pm Pure Core, I looked at the class description at home online. I was really nervous when I saw it was an advanced class in a 30 degree room. Again, I almost didn’t go, but I recalled a quote I read on the wall of the yoga studio that stuck with me:
“This yoga should be practiced with firm determination and perseverance, without any mental reservation or doubts.” – Bhagavad Gita
Off I went.
I saw the teacher when I arrived at the studio, and told her I was not an advanced yogi. She said no worries, just do your thing. I relaxed a bit and told myself to just enjoy my blissful 75 minutes alone. It was hard, but doable. I loved the challenge.
This past week, I started thinking about what is drawing me to yoga, and it’s not about losing weight. If my body changes, bonus. My yoga journey is about overcoming physical challenges; feeling empowered with what my body can do, and feeling stronger mentally. I always had a feeling I could benefit from yoga, but I think my brain needed it more than I realized. Lately I’ve found myself drifting through days, feeling like time was flying by in a blur of routine. An article from Sage health magazine says, “When you do the same things every day (for example eating oatmeal for every breakfast), your brain becomes lazy; days begin to blur together…research shows that trying something new wakes up the brain.” (1). I want to stay curious. I want to have interesting things to talk about. I don’t want a lazy brain. And I have a feeling I’m not the only one; there’s a reason this yoga studio is packed with people.
Another article from Sage states that, “simply staying active several times a week for 30 to 60 minutes may help maintain reasoning and learning skills; improve memory, judgement and thinking abilities; and delay the start of or even slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.” (2). Awesome. I need yoga to stay sharp, and keep up with my 3 ½ year-old and 17-month old sons. Now, and as I get older.
Another draw for me is that yoga presents a completely new set of challenges unrelated to the challenges I face everyday as a mom. Less stressful challenges. Let’s be honest, mom challenges can suck. Wondering if your decisions, or one thing you said, could have an effect on who they become as adults, or scar them for life. Those are intense, serious, stressful challenges that can sometimes break you down. The challenges I’m facing in yoga make me feel good, are invigorating, and give me energy. I already can’t wait for the next class. I’m going up against “Pure Beats” again on Thursday night. Hopefully a bit more mentally prepared this time.
- Grant, Colleen & Alarie, Sara Eve. “Stop the Clock.” Sage, Oct. 2017, pp 36-37.
- Wong, Ellen, BSc (HONS), ND & Annand, Vanessa. “Can We Keep Our Minds Young.” Sage, Oct. 2017, pp 28-31.