When I look at my workout life, there is BY (Before Yoga) and AISY (After I Started Yoga). Much of my BY life is populated with dance, cardio kickboxing, and aerobics. But AISY, I was so in love with the practice that I rarely found the need or desire to do much else. I’m lucky to live in a city like Boston where my yoga practice has followed me through so many chapters of my life: the passing of my dad, the introduction of my new life with Christophe, fertility treatments, pregnancy, even breast cancer. But as my role as a parent and a partner deepens, I recognize that part of my yoga practice is about developing flexibility around how to work out when the desire to strengthen my family groove doesn’t always lead me to a yoga studio.
In my case, its led me back to a place I thought I’d never consider again: the gym. When I was in my 30s, I used to have a membership at Bally’s Total Fitness when there was a location in the basement of the Porter Square Exchange (of course, a visit to the gym was usually followed by a visit to their delicious Asian Food Court). I was seduced by their dirt-cheap prices and vicinity to my home. But maintaining the membership was perhaps the most exercise I got. I knew it was good for me but there was a drudgery about it that I could never shake. Perhaps it was my two-hour routine staring at cinderblock walls that had me bored (music was the only way to spice things up since tv monitors in gyms wasn’t always available). Perhaps it was that I never built any community since I was rarely there. All I know is that once I found Power Yoga, I found both engagement and community – I practically ran to class after work. Even with the advent of online classes, I still prefer going to the studio.
Today, I find myself at the YMCA on weekend mornings. Madeleine is finally receptive to their Childwatch program which gives Christophe and I the chance to save half our day and work out together (this has not been the case until recently). The directive is simple: You have a little over an hour to knock yourself out and take a shower – use your time wisely. 30-40 minutes seems to be the amount of time I can sustain doing anything work out wise (and it fits within my time-deprived lifestyle these days). So, I jump on my old friend, the elliptical, find a tv show, and get pumping (it also helps that my peeps are close by and close captioning is available on “Friends”). In an attempt to keep things interesting, I decided to try cardio kickboxing again with my longtime amigo, Jen (there is nothing more inspiring then watching someone you love kicking ass in class and, good lord, she does). It wasn’t pretty and I dropped out to stretch around the 40 minute mark but while I was in it, I was upper cutting and kicking along with the best of them. Considering that I haven’t done a class like this in decades, I will take this as a personal “woohoo” moment.
It’s not to say that my yoga days are over – far from it. But, my new habit for December (I committed to finding one each month) is to widen my laser focus on yoga so that I can put working out back into my schedule once and for all. Here’s to my Cardio Return.