View from my mat
Last Saturday I had the unique experience of doing yoga with more than 80 other people downtown. If that doesn’t sound all that exceptional, let me add another detail – our mats were set up in the middle of South Pearl Street. Pretty cool, right?
#YogaPalooza, held in conjunction with Pearlpalooza 2017, was a free one-hour yoga class facilitated by the terrific staff of my favorite studio, the Hot Yoga Spot. As bands tuned up around us, we stretched and posed under gloriously beautiful blue skies for 60 minutes. It was a struggle occasionally to hear all of the cues, but I mostly was able to follow along by checking out my mat mates for a clue. Ultimately, for me, the practice became more about finding balance between being on my mat and being part of a large group in a novel place. It was really awesome.
Following shavasana, attendees were rewarded for their participation with an array of door prizes and this lucky girl won a cozy wrap from Athleta, making for a perfect morning. Special events like #YogaPalooza only make me love you more, Albany.
Yeah, you. My reader. It’s been more than 7 years, 2 domains and a divorce since DelSo was born. Over the years I’ve shared a lot of my life and self here, in print. You, as a reader, have come to know me on some level from my words. What makes you return here (assuming you’re not new around these parts) and read what I write? Let me remind you of some of what I’ve related to you in the hope that you might feel inclined to share with me – who you are, reader? Why are you here?
There have been so many miles – more plane rides than I could have ever imagined, along with runs and races and road trips. I’ve explored cities with my boys and my girlfriends and solo. My feet have run in a half dozen different countries and probably about the same number of states.
My home has evolved from a house with two full-time parents to one of three part-time children. There have been physical improvements, rooms repurposed and painted, new rugs and furniture rearranged. It feels different. After a refinance or two, I know it’s mine.
I’ve written about books I’ve read and movies and concerts I’ve seen. Increasingly, politics and my dismay with our current leadership have been topics I’ve felt compelled to write about.
My children and the challenges of being a parent frequently provide fodder for posts. While the joys outweigh the frustrations, parenthood remains a roller coaster ride that keeps me on the edge of my seat with a scream threatening to escape. It’s a heart racing ride.
Sometimes I cook or bake and post recipes and photos of the fruits of my labors. Food and wine are a big part of my life and I’ve happily shared my experiences with you. Oh – and there’s that wine bar that I own.
There have been times when I wrote with sadness or anger, but I think I mostly write from a place of understanding and acceptance. Balance and moderation are woven throughout much of what I write.
Health and wellness have been covered and the miracle of menopause has been mentioned. The heartbreak of addiction and the threat of cancer have been present. I’ve learned to ski and have found bliss in pigeon pose in a room heated to 100+ degrees.
It’s all here – my life. Not perfect, not necessarily what I ever imagined it to be, but a life that I feel grateful for in a city that I have come to love.
Will you tell me why you visit my life?
Filed under aging, Albany, baking, Boston, Boys, California, cancer, Cape Cod, Chicago, concerts, Cooking, D.C., DelSo, drinking, Eating, Europe, Events, Exercise, family, favorites, Food, France, friends, Germany, house, Ireland, Italy, Local, London, marriage, Martha's Vineyard, medical, moms, Movies, musings, Nashville, NYC, Observations, politics, Portugal, Random, Recipes, relationships, Restaurants, road trips, running, Saratoga, SPAC, Spain, travel, vacation, Washington, x-country skiing, yoga
I’m just back from Chicago and I wanted to share a few places while they’re fresh in my mind. My trip was really exceptional and, other than my response to Chicago style pizza,* all positive.
First – where I stayed. Using Hotwire I booked the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place for less than $100 a night. It was a tremendous value and I was very comfortable in my spacious room, complete with lake view. The location was exactly what I prefer – in a quiet part of town with great access to transit and trails for running. If you like to be in the midst of everything, this would not have been an ideal spot for you, but I’d much rather feel like I can get away from the fray. There was a nearby small market, complete with alcohol, and a couple of restaurants, although I didn’t eat in the neighborhood. Where I ate is a whole ‘nother blog post.
Tip for you: always call your hotel directly in advance of check in and request a room with a view or inquire about having a bathrobe and slippers made available. It can’t hurt to ask and not packing a bathrobe definitely lightens luggage and leaves more room for shoes and workout clothes. Oh – and always pack a swimsuit. This hotel had a sauna which I enjoyed each day of my stay.
I was in desperate need of a pedicure when I arrived in Chicago. I did a Yelp search in my general area and located a number of places. My first choice didn’t have availability that suited me, but my second choice was able to get the job done in fine fashion OMG Nails on Michigan Avenue provided me a quality pedicure in a clean, comfortable and relaxing space. My nails really look great (OPI Lincoln Park after dark, natch) and I managed to get out of there without a smudge, which I have to attribute to the nail tech spraying my nails with something and then sliding plastic baggies onto my feet for my trip back to the hotel. $45 + tip.
On the morning of my departure day I was committed to getting a yoga class in before getting on a plane, since I had run close to 20 miles during my visit and probably walked another 10. The nail technician had mentioned Core Power Yoga, a studio that offered a free week of classes for new registrants. In a few minutes time, I had myself digitally registered and ready for a 60-minute yoga sculpt class gratis.
The studio was on the top floor of a five-story building and had a terrific view east. I went to my mat with two sets of light weights and an intention – to stretch my muscles and sweat and after an hour of sweaty effort, I accomplished both. The class was challenging and left me drenched and still sore two days later. It was an excellent class.
I really, really liked Chicago.
*call it something other “pizza” and maybe I can get on board.
• A visit to the Hot Yoga Spot
. After months of not managing to get to a Bikram class, I finally made it to the newest HYS location in East Greenbush this week. It was truly 75 minutes of blissful hard work and I am so happy that there is yet another location and schedule of classes of which I can avail myself.
• The thought of Donald Trump representing my country.
• Sunshine and 57 degrees in Albany, N.Y.
• The Soba noodle dish we’re offering as part of our
Tuesday & Wednesday Pasta Special – so good! I know it is going to be exactly what I’ll crave when I get my first winter cold.
• New flannel sheets from Macy’s Martha Stewart Collection
. They are legit like velvet.
Despite not having been impressed with the class I took last month in P’town, I decided to give stand up paddle boarding yoga a second try recently. Although I’m still not completely hooked on the concept, I had a much more positive experience this time around and that’s saying a lot considering I was the only person to fall in the lake and there was a giggly Girl Scout troop attending the class.
Taught by Rhiana out of the Kayak Shack, with numerous classes at various times available, the class is approximately 90 minutes long and costs a reasonable $35. Chrissy and I headed up early and were able to get on our boards for a bonus bit of a paddle around prior to class, eventually meeting up with the group and paddling into an area thick with lily pads in an attempt to keep our boards stationary. It seemed to work for everyone but me, but, it wasn’t a real problem to paddle back into place periodically.
No, the real problem was the strap on my bathing suit which nearly turned SUP yoga into topless SUP yoga. Repeatedly fixing that was far more distracting than a gaggle of girls. The other distraction was the sky – it was just beautiful, streaked with pink and yellow as the sun slowly returned to the horizon. This was what I had always hoped for when doing yoga outdoors, yet consistently found elusive.
The scenery alone made the experience gratifying, but the workout was also satisfying. Rhiana took into account the different levels of experience and athleticism and led our group through a class which was differentiated and challenging. I’d definitely take this class again – Scout’s honor.
It’s funny how sometimes two beloved things just don’t work together. For instance, I love ice cream and I love chocolate but I just don’t care for chocolate ice cream. At all. This weird contradictory condition, I’ve learned, also holds true for two of my favorite activities – yoga and paddle boarding.
Earlier this week I headed out to Provincetown for a 9:00 a.m. SUP yoga class at Provincetown Aqua Sports. I had booked and paid for the class online the previous evening and was excited to try something new. Provincetown is lovely in the early morning with plenty of available parking and I arrived at the business in good time. I paid my (petty) $2 fee to rent a locker, got my (mandatory) life vest and joined the other 3 class attendees and the 2 instructors on the beach behind Commercial Street.
There was a brief stretch/warm up before we launched along with general instructions for those inexperienced with paddle boarding. A short time later we headed out into the harbor for class. The tide was fairly low, but the current was swift moving us quickly from east to west. The approach was to paddle to the right and work on our poses as we were propelled by the water to the left. It was somewhat challenging, but I guess I like to work out a little harder. I probably need to just relax a little, right?
I’ve played around with yoga poses in the past on a paddle board and have always dumped when attempting a one-legged downward dog or a side plank. This class did give me a technique to avoid that, specifically moving my foot to the center of the board to maintain balance. That alone made the class worthwhile and I will continue working on my practice on my own board, in my own time. While this class wasn’t really for me I did enjoy my post-class breakfast – a coffee and cinnamon roll from the Portuguese Bakery.
Have any of you taken a SUP yoga class? How did it add up for you?
Photo by Quinn Lilly
After some improvements, including a general shoring up, new railings, pressure washing and a coat of stain, I’m smitten with my deck. On a recent evening, in an effort to combine my desire for stretching with my need to be home, I attempted some vinyasas al fresco with mixed results.
I found a yoga station on Pandora and set up my mat, giving myself adequate room to downward and upward dog to my heart’s content. What I failed to factor in, however, was the real dog, namely, Jeter. You’ve seen the videos of humans doing yoga with their pets? Well, the struggle is real and Jeter needs to work a bit on his flow. As for me, holding a pose takes on a whole other level of challenge when there’s an 85 lb. lab jumping on you.
There were three other impediments to my practice, namely Liam, Griffin & Quinn aka my sons. The amount of attention and refereeing they demanded was an irritating distraction to my home yoga attempt. I think in the future, I’ll limit my attempts to times when the guys are occupied with maiming video game characters instead of each other. They really didn’t respect my need for zen!
A half-assed home yoga practice will probably never replace a sweaty 90 minutes of Bikram, but I did do a fair amount of stretching in anticipation of spending 8+ hours on a bus the following day. Despite the challenges, I’ll definitely attempt this again.
How about you? Do you work out at home and, if so, any tips to share to avoid distraction?