The Body Series: Doing What Works for You


Taken on Captiva Island

March 2012


About three-quarters of the way through the yoga class I took yesterday, I had a bit of an epiphany. As I shared with a new friend afterward, it went something like this: 

I realized that yoga seems “meant” for me — my temperament, my pace, my way of being in life and with God, and perhaps (I’m learning) my way of being with my body. I found myself thinking that other ways of exercising have felt so harsh, and maybe that is one reason I’ve not gravitated toward them. They simply don’t fit who I am and the way I prefer to exist in the world. 

This realization came to me as I was stretching into a pose, leaning forward over my left knee while seated on the ground. The lights were off in the room, and all that could be heard was the continuous, rhythmic breathing of all of us in the room and the calming, gentle voice of our instructor, guiding us through the poses. 

This is such a place for me, I realized.

It’s quiet. Gentle. Soothing. Peaceful. Accepting. Even as it challenges me and my joints and limbs and muscles. 

When I woke this morning, I wanted to go back and do it again. 

In contrast, I’ve taken some other classes at the gym this week that haven’t had quite the same effect. The music was loud, the instructors’ voices abrasive. Sometimes there was a be as you are approach to the workout, but other times the instructions were strident and carefully defined (and usually defined well above my current ability!). 

And so this morning, as I tried yet another new class and found myself not quite connecting with it, I made a decision. There’s a way I can structure my availability to do yoga five mornings a week, and that’s what I’m going to do. It’s what I’m coming to love. I feel refreshed and invigorated and so happy after I complete those classes, so I’m going to just go with it. 

Additionally, I’m going to see what I can do to purchase a bike, and here’s why.

Last spring, I had the opportunity to stay on Captiva Island for a week with a bicycle as my main form of transportation — and I loved it! I hadn’t ridden a bike in so long, I was a bit wobbly on it at first. But soon, I was tooling around the island, taking the long way home sometimes, just because I didn’t want the ride to end, loving the feeling of the wind blowing on my face and neck and hair, a huge, invigorated smile on my face. 

About a month ago, I stopped by a local bike shop and tried a couple bikes on for size. Immediately, as I tested them up and down the street, that same smile lit up my face. I remembered just how much I loved that experience of riding a bike last year on the island. 

I’ve tried a couple cycling classes at the gym this week, and they’ve been OK. But they’re nothing like what I feel when I’m riding outside in the fresh air. 

All this to say, I’m moving in the direction of finding an approach to moving my body around that works best for me. 

What are you finding works best for you?