Monday, July 16, 2007

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something True
It’s easy to fall into an exercise rut. My gym routine—every Monday—starts on the elliptical, next to weights, then jogging on the treadmill, and finishes with stretches. Tuesday is 20+ minutes of undulation. Wednesday is belly dance class. Thursday and Friday are yoga, and I try to go for a bike ride on the weekend. A routine is comforting, but the body gets limited by repetitive motion. That’s why any routine eventually becomes stale.

So I was delighted when a colleague, Michaela Kapilla, gave me a DVD of her YogaFlow class. (She teaches at Pine Lake Community Center, Providence Point, and for Boeing employees.) Even though I’ve had a regular home yoga practice for several years, Michaela’s style was new to me, like a combination of Kundalini and Viniyoga. From the beginning (“Let your breath wash through your mind.”)—through the simultaneous ease and accomplishment of the practice—to the relaxing end (“there’s nothing left to do.”), I enjoyed the fresh approach. The injection of something new into my routine worked as a catalyst to bring new life into my body.

Borrowing from others can help you expand your horizons and therefore your range of motion. I’ve added a couple of exercise by watching and copying others at the gym. Working out—or better yet—playing with a friend will add variety.

Of course, it’s important to stay within your personal limits. My sister-in-law lent me a Rodney Yee yoga tape. The first eight minutes were a welcome change of pace to my regular yoga practice, but my shoulders weren’t strong enough for the 20 minutes of plank and handstands that followed. Fortunately, I stopped before I hurt myself too badly. (Taking a class with an experienced teacher also greatly reduces the chance of injury.)

When you borrow new moves from others, be very aware to learn about your body and avoid injury.

You can build new strength and improve your overall health by changing your pace and staying within your abilities.

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