For seven years, nothing made me happier than yoga. I recall the days when I was working behind a desk in an office (sitting cross-legged and in yoga pants, of course) waiting for the 5 p.m. hour to hit so I could start wrapping up the day and begin making my way up to Back Bay or the North End of Boston so I could to make it to whatever yoga class was on my mind at the moment.
In the early days, I was obsessed with yoga. What came next, of course, was teacher training, followed by me leaving the corporate world to pursue (you guessed it) teaching yoga. Some co-workers wondered what the heck I was doing leaving a great job in design to pursue a job in stretching. Others were inspired to think outside the cubicle box and begin crafting their exit strategy to find a career they were passionate for as well.
Over the course of six years and two cities, I’ve taught anywhere from two classes to 18 classes per week. Still, I practiced daily, either in the comfort of my own home or in the yoga studio I deemed as extended family by that point. When I moved to Miami, I was still teaching full time as a yoga teacher, practicing daily, but less and less over time. The desire to do the greater moves and balances lessened, and I began to care more about creating actual "balance" for my mind and body.
So I started pursuing other methods of fitness.
Truth be told, I really don’t need the flexibility in my body. I can fold in half, touch beyond my toes, bind in all directions, and melt into a split easily. So I got bored with practicing the physical yoga daily and sprung into other methods of fitness to keep my interest instead.
From asana, the physical practice of yoga, what was I missing? Strength. Cardiovascular exercise. And, of course, mind training. Enter my new routine—my morning triple threat—which has wiped away my boredom in the "just yoga" practice, leaving my body feeling more balanced than it ever has been before.
This "triple threat" of exercise (mental and physical) has done just that for me. Over the past 11 years, yoga has been my go-to form of fitness with a mix of strength training, cardio, gym, weights, classes—you name it. But more recently, I’ve taken up running, which is a new feat for this 33-year-old body. That’s right: I just started running in my 30s, and it’s awesome! You’re never too old, young, or "new" to try something different.
The "triple threat" I use to kick off my day.
I recently created a "triple threat" of mental and physical exercises to kick-start every one of my days. Now, my mornings I’m excited to wake up, get outside, and move.
My mornings begin with a daily 10 minutes of meditation before I touch social media or look at my inbox. From there I set a focus and a mindset for the things I want to achieve in the day ahead. Some meditations are wonderful, and I can follow my breath for a good portion of the time. Other times, my mind lists off a laundry list of things I need to get done before day’s end, or what’s needed on the grocery list, and did I remember to turn the coffee machine on before taking my seat? (Pro tip: Set your coffee machine on automatic.) Be kind, be easy with yourself, and know that your meditations, like the moons, have their ups and downs too. Practice.
Afterward, I practice some light stretching to prep my body, either inside my home studio or outside or on my walk to the boardwalk near the beach where I live. Unless it’s raining heavily, I offer myself the morning time to be outside, running or walking. Some days it’s a half-mile jog; other days it’s a 2-mile sprint. And sometimes, it’s just a brisk walk up and down the boardwalk by the sea looking at all the birds, trees, hotels, and fellow morning board-walkers that I pass by.
There's nothing better than getting your morning moving outside and energizing yourself with a little bit of sun. It feels good to wake up at the same time that earth is awakening. I honestly have not stepped foot back in the gym to run since "discovering" this outdoor playground to run on each morning.
After running, I head back home, follow up with my post-run yoga stretch, which helps to aid in recovery, lessens potential injury, and leaves me feeling energized, revived, yet still open like my traditional yoga practice. Flexibility plus cardio and strength training equals balance to me, and my body.
The combination of meditation, yoga, and running helped get me out of my yoga rut and transformed it into something new. The key take-away? When you need something to spice up your current fitness routine, maybe you don’t have to throw out the baby with the kitchen sink (for lack of a better phrase) but simply sprinkle in a little something new to freshen up your workout.
Inspired by Sara's story? Read up on how yoga changes your DNA.