FINDING MY FAIRY GODMOTHER
By Cheryl Hansen
Who doesn’t love a good transformation story? All it took Sandy to make her point in “Grease” was a tight pair of leather pants. Vivian rocked Rodeo Drive to become a “Pretty Woman.” That montage in “G.I. Jane” when Demi Moore gets all buff and sweaty with the upside-down-sit-ups is downright inspirational. And… well, Cinderella. You get the idea.
I’ve been contemplating my own transformation for a while now. And since Richard Gere isn’t around to help navigate the process, I’ve been a little stuck. I don’t envision a fancy red dress or a glass slipper, necessarily, but I have a picture of me in my head that’s begging to become a reality.
I’m a mom in my forties with 30-40 pounds to lose. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression (you too?). I’ve started (and stopped) a hundred plans and programs—from drinking shakes and counting calories to running 5Ks and cutting carbs. They all work—for a while. As much as I’d love a quick fix, it’s time to grow up and make the kind of changes I can live with—happily ever after.
So I made a list of qualities—the “me” I want to be—and I realized that I already have the ability to do … to be almost everything on my list. There is no someday or one day. Most of it is within my control today. The me I want to be has better ways of dealing with stress (besides cookies) and better ways of calming my mind (besides HGTV). She goes outside for daily walks. She takes hikes more than twice a year. She has a dog. She guzzles water and orders steamed vegetables because they make her feel fantastic. She breathes.
I’ve known for a long time that yoga is the key for me. Every time I talk to someone, read an article or take a class, fireworks go off in my head: this is IT. But for some reason, I have been unable to make it a regular part of my life. Change is hard. But it’s time.
I’m starting on the inside—managing stress, anxiety and that self-talk that can turn mean all too quickly. I believe the outside will naturally follow. I’m talking actual core strength and, yes—skinny jeans (well skinnier jeans, anyway). And I’m counting on that easy, chilled out expression and pretty skin I’m convinced comes with regular yoga practice. Yoga Pod may not be my fairy godmother, but there’s something special happening there. I suspect the magic is up to me.
It’s all about community, support and accountability, so I think I’m onto something here at Yoga Pod. Please join me on my journey.
A ROOKIE’S GUIDE FOR SURVING HOT YOGA
I kicked off my yoga journey with hot yoga. I was drawn to the slow, deliberate sequences, and it felt like I was sweating out toxins, negative thinking and all kinds of bad stuff.
With eight whole podHOT classes under my belt, I’m no expert – but fortunately, there are lots of experts at Yoga Pod. Ask them the serious questions. Meanwhile, here are a few tips from a rookie.
- It’s hot. Like really hot. But if you relax and breathe, it’s surprisingly calming. I’m pretty sure there are mind readers teaching the class, too, because every time I start thinking about cleaning out the fridge, they remind me to focus on my breathing. Every. Single. Time.
- Even young, cute, athletic people sit it out sometimes. My halleluiah moment when I saw someone half my age with actual ab muscles taking child’s pose for a few. Even better when I saw that nobody (except me) even noticed.
- There’s a set sequence of poses/exercises that’s the same in every class. The first class was intimidating because everyone seemed to know what was next. By class five, however, I felt like a total pro—stepping to the back of my mat a half second before the teacher told us to do so.
- Reverse savasana: Best. Pose. Ever.
- Ice-cold, lavender-scented, glorious cloths of bliss are provided at the end of each class. I sigh just thinking about them.
- Have you ever been on an extended camping trip with lots of dirt, sweat, smoke and marshmallow gunk in every crevice of your being? You know that feeling you get when you finally get to take a real shower? Showering after hot yoga feels THAT good.
- It seems the appeal of junk food decreases dramatically after sweating and breathing and stretching and counter stretching. Why mess up a good thing, right?