#FitnessFriday: Leaving the Studio and Doing Yoga at Home

So this posting once a week thing isn’t really panning out like I had hoped. I need to take a weekend and just finish all of the half-done posts that are sitting in my drafts folder. Then I can schedule them all and pretend I wrote once a week. 

Onward…

I’ve been doing yoga on and off since 2007. I went regularly to the most amazing studio on the face of the earth for about a year until I was laid off and couldn’t really afford the cost. When I finally got another job, it was located 45 miles from home and even yoga was too much after sitting in Long Island traffic for more than an hour.

(Glowing endorsement: If you live in Suffolk, please head over to Essence of Yoga Studio. It’s absolutely everything you’d ever want in a studio. You’ll never want to do yoga any place else.)

When I moved to Raleigh I got a membership at the YMCA and began doing yoga twice a week for a little less than a year. It was great to be back at it. I only stopped when we moved to the opposite side of the county and it was no longer convenient.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

I finally picked it up again last October when I got a membership at the NC State gym. A perk of being the wife of an NC State employee/student (or just a roommate, because that’s all you really need to be) is getting access to this amazing facility at a really affordable price. I used my membership to take yoga once a week and hit the gym sporadically.

Taking yoga classes at State, or any gym really, is kind of the opposite of what you’d get at a studio. Yoga, for many people, including myself, is more than just a workout. In a lot of ways, it’s a meditative and spiritual practice.

For example, when I run, I don’t really think about running. I think about everything. My mind is always working and processing. I have mentally written so many things while running, unfortunately, I rarely get them on paper.

When I do yoga, however, I don’t think about anything but my breathing and what my body is feeling at that exact moment. When my mind does begin to wander, it’s very easy to bring my concentration back to my breath. For an hour or two, my mind is mostly clear of distractions.

Learn more about yoga breathing known as Ujjayi breath. 

It’s a little hard to focus on my breathing when some meathead in the fitness center upstairs keeps dropping heavy weights on the floor. Or when the dance music for the Zumba class next door starts melding with the Christian music the yoga instructor has put on. Maybe I got in a good workout, but I leave there feeling empty.

Leaving the Gym

After taking a look at our finances, I decided we needed to trim down our expenses a bit. Some of our insurance premiums increased and we are starting to save money for the portion of maternity leave that won’t be covered by my short term disability policy (NOT pregnant. Just planning ahead).

I decided to save $25 a month by not renewing my membership at NC State and crowdsourced a few yoga at home options.

One of the recommendations was an iPad/iPhone app called Yoga Studio, which I downloaded for $3.99 and finally broke my paid-app virginity as everything I’ve ever downloaded has been free.

I’ve used it a few times now and I have to say that it was $4 well spent.

This is pretty much my life now. 

It has a variety of sessions that last 15, 30 and 60 minutes focusing on strength, flexibility and relaxation. What I really like about this app is the ability to build my own class. You can start from scratch or copy and edit an existing session.

I tried this feature this week and extended an existing session by an additional 13 minutes by adding more vinyasa flows and warrior combinations. I also nixed a few poses that are just too difficult right now (screw you and your reverse plank) and replaced them with others that are more at my current level.

You can copy and customize an existing session, which is what I did here.

You can copy and customize an existing session, which is what I did here.

I created a 15-minute session to tack on to my strength training routine and I plan on making a few super-short sessions for after running. This should help keep me focused while I stretch instead of half-stretching, half-looking-at-Facebook.

Doing yoga in my living room isn’t the same as Shirley’s studio on Long Island. It’s a bit more distracting and I don’t have the guidance of an experienced instructor. But, although the sessions are short, I do yoga more often now than when I was going to the gym. At this point, it’s the only New Year’s Resolution I’m actually exceeding. I don’t get home late and I don’t end my practice feeling nearly as empty as I once did.

My heart is starting to feel full again and that’s priceless.

Namaste 

 

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