Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Yoga As The Sun Comes Up

When I was in Cape Cod a few weeks ago for my friend's bachelorette weekend, at check-in we got a schedule of the weekend's events. The cheerfully orange piece of paper contained every activity from fishing and beach bonfires to camps for kids and a late afternoon dance party. There to relax, get a tan, and read some books, not very many of these activities intrigued me, but for one:

Saturday 8:30 am - Yoga on the beach

I am a runner, and I dearly love my solo sport. I like hitting the streets alone at dawn and soaking up the quiet before my city awakes to face another day. I like the serenity that comes from logging mile after mile with only the sounds of my breathing and the staccato rhythm of my running shoes hitting the pavement for company.

Over the years I have tried various group exercise classes, everything from spinning and step to yoga and pilates. I always get excited at first, but burn out after a few classes. Group fitness just isn't for me. I know this now.

But lately, as I put together a training schedule for the full marathon I want to run in the spring, I have been thinking about some other exercise to add to my routine. It seems that you can not train for a marathon only by running, so I need something new to do, at least a day or two a week. Apparently it makes you a better, faster and stronger runner. And who doesn't want to be better, faster and stronger?

So on my vacation, I woke up before 8am, gathered my things and headed down to yoga on the beach overlooking the Nantucket Sound. I was skeptical, due to the aforementioned aversion to group exercise classes.

But I was wrong. It was glorious.

From the first minute I sat down facing the ocean on the beach towel serving as my yoga mat, I felt calm and centered. I moved through the positions much more easily than I though I would, and loved every second of the class. I spent the entire rest of the day in the peaceful haze that comes from a good morning of exercise, and vowed to do yoga more often.

When I got home I went straight to Target and bought myself a yoga mat, and have since spent fifteen minutes every morning in my back yard, greeting the sun as it rises over the horizon.

I never really understood why people treated yoga as practically a religious experience, but I do now. For those fifteen minutes, when it's just me standing under the sun, I feel the presence of something indescribable, just like I do on Friday afternoons, when I stand in front of my candles and welcome Shabbat into my home.

There is a lot going on now in this life of mine, but for a little slice of time, when the sun is rising and I am standing on my yoga mat or lacing up my running shoes, it feels like there is nothing to worry about at all.


  1. I LOVE yoga! I'm glad you did/do too. I believe it helps everything! It's probably what I did most to prepare for my little walk and it saved me, I think, from injuries others had. It is so centering. I need to pull out my mat. Thanks for the reminder. I've been lazy lately!!!

  2. I have always wanted to start doing yoga but I don't seem to get it started. I feel like I need someone to lead mentor something. But since the broken toe is hindering my exercise, I need something else to do to add movement. I should see if I could find some moves to get started that will work for me. Thanks for the inspiration and beautiful picture!!

  3. When I ran a marathon yoga helped so much. I totally think it helped prevent injuries.

  4. Beautiful post. Spiritual connection is found in a number of places. I find it when I listen to Bon Iver, run, look out the big glass windows at church, slow dance with my husband, and sing along to "Lean on Me." I haven't been able to get into yoga, but I definitely understand why so many people like it. Enjoy the peace it brings you. Namaste.

  5. I love the idea of yoga but can't seem to make myself do it!

  6. This is gorgeous. I completely want to start doing yoga at sunrise now.

  7. You KNOW I love this. And I get it.

  8. I love yoga. Though I'm more of a yoga at sunset type because I don't turn into a human until at least 10a. I made a pact with myself a while ago to figure out a way to fit in 2 hours of yoga a week and I am so glad I did. I feel so much more at home in my body, if that makes sense.