One Breath, One Movement

photo by Lena Bell

Other chasing a toddler, walking the dog and tennis leagues, the last few years I’ve been far less physically active than I once was.

In my 20s, I used to play tennis at least three times per week, alternating between league matches and intense drills. I did hot yoga all. the. time. For a couple of summers I ran around around Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis almost every afternoon—and I truly enjoyed it!

If I really think about why I mostly stopped exercising regularly over the last few years, I could (and did) make all the usual excuses: lack of confidence, lack of motivation, lack of time, parenthood, pregnancy, stress, etc. etc. etc…. all the etc’s one can handle. The reality is though that I stopped caring about myself enough to prioritize my own health.

Heavy, right?!

But seriously, depression is such a dick. Both the regular kind and the postpartum kind have effed me over both mentally and physically over the last few years, and put me in a really weird headspace about my body and exercise.

The good news is that my mood has slowly but surely lifted. And almost as soon as I could feel that lift beginning in the fall of 2019, I found myself ultra-motivated to move again.

I started by doing some free outdoor yoga classes at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, taking extra long walks with my dog Georgie and occasionally running around Lake of the Isles again (without G, because she is too distracting while running), but once the weather turned colder I needed a few more options that I could do indoors. I’m a fair-weather runner—not one of those people that jogs on icy sidewalks. I do not have an ankle-twisting death wish.

Knowing that my traditional gym membership had been underutilized the last time I signed up (to say the least), I decided to try Classpass since they had an extra great deal for new subscribers at the time.

How Classpass works

I’ve always relied on group fitness classes at the gym more than anything else anyway, so I like that I can bounce around to different gyms and studios. I can try new activities without a big commitment. I can go to the trusty ol’ intense hot yoga place, the more chill yoga place, the bouldering place and the indoor rowing place all in my own neighborhood.

It’s like the whole city is my gym!

Classpass works on a point subscription, so you sign up for a certain number of points and then each class costs a different amount of points, depending on what it is and how popular it is. I’m lucky enough that I have a flexible schedule so I can make the most of the non-peak times, which means I can go to more classes overall. It’s more affordable than if I were to get a membership at any single studio. Depending on my tennis schedule, I could only manage to go to the gym 2-3x week max anyway so it works perfectly for me.

I love/hate that Classpass charges you a (kind of hefty) cancellation fee. It forces me go because there is literally a financial penalty if I break a promise to myself. Also, if you sign up with my referral link, you get $30 off your first month. Sweet deal!

Namaste puns are the worst, but I thought about putting one in here for a second. Blegh.

Now that I have my Classpass routine down, I’m using the membership for yoga more than anything else. I’m going at least twice a week to the studio(s), plus a little bit of freestyling at home with my daughter because she thinks its funny.

Practicing yoga after a long hiatus has been humbling, but I love it so much. I’m objectively (a lot) less flexible and not as strong as I once was, but I feel much more connected to the breath work and mind-body practice of yoga now than ever before.

I used to do yoga for the physical benefits, but sort of rolled my eyes at the rest. I was too busy creating yoga competitions (in my mind) with the person on the mat next to me (who had no idea we were competing for “Best in Crow,” even though they usually won). Now I approach it all with a lot more self-compassion and I really DGAF what anyone else in the class is doing (unless they are those extremely loud breathers).

Last week I took a class on New Year’s Day that was like a group therapy session and reminded me why yoga has felt so special to me over the last few months of healing. The instructor said something that resonated so deeply on a day where many people are thinking about what they want to change or fix about themselves in the new year.

“Instead of trying to change yourself, what if you spent that energy trying to accept yourself? And what if you let change flow naturally from a place of compassion rather than judgement?”

This post isn’t sponsored (even though I clearly love and COULD write a catchy ad for Classpass). But if you use my referral link, you get $30 off your first month.

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