First off: confession – I don’t really like ‘exercising.’ Let me qualify: I like to be outside, I love walking as long as it combines talking and I like biking as long as it involves coffee and muffins after the ride – and so on. In other words, I am far from fanatic, but like to feel good, preferably not in lycra and not in the company of MAMMALS, which, if you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky.
Writers need to exercise. We spend way too much time in front of our computers or curled up with books, exercising our minds, but not our bodies. Walking is great, but it is cold outside this time of year – especially for those of us who are more cat like and get chilled to the bone when the thermometer drops below 8 degrees.
Besides, I’ve been stressed lately and need to release some steam.
Last week I tried out two introductory exercise programs: one worked and the other didn’t – mostly because of the instructors and the ambiance.
First off, the brand new, much talked about and lauded: The Dailey Method. I was excited to go, as it is described as “tone, strengthen and lengthen,” and had planned to sign up for their ‘First Timers,’ deal – $100 for a month (or something close to that). Normally, it is really expensive, and I wanted to take advantage of the offer. At the end of the first class, I decided to pay $45 for three classes, just because the cost of a single class seemed inordinately high. My impressions: I left the class feeling more stressed than when I went in. The room was so crowded, that I was unable to do most of the exercises – especially those that involved lengthening; the teacher, although knowing it was my first time, only once helped me with the method, and for the rest of the time, completely ignored me. I was neither welcomed into the class, nor did anyone check in after to see how it went. In fact, everybody was pretty unfriendly.
To be fair, I returned a second time, and it was slightly better, not really great, but I will use up my third pass, just because I paid for it and that will be the end of that.
A few days later, I headed off to a yoga class at Sanga Yoga – it was a donate only class, which they do once a week – which says a lot about them before one even enters the studio. This was an entirely different experience. The class was small enough that I was able to stretch out my legs and arms, the teacher and the students were friendly and the teacher ensured that everyone knew what to do, before she moved on to another position. At both the beginning and the end of the class, she checked in with the students in a really nice, non-threatening manner.
I found both classes physically challenging and ached a bit after both – a good sign, but for my money and enjoyment, I’ll be going to yoga, even if I didn’t understand all the names for poses. Not only did I feel liked I’d had a really great physical work-out, but I felt calm and confident when I left the studio and went back out into the cold.
I really believe that in order to be mentally fit, a writer must be physically fit, so find your exercise, be it on the slopes, in the water or in the gym and get your glow on –it will show up on the page, sooner or later.