Heatwave in Seattle

by bangladeshihindu

I have a confession to make.  I am one of those women you see at the gym who reads magazines on the cardio equipment.  I have another confession.  I feel superior to other women who read magazines on the cardio equipment, because I am working on level 20 while they are usually on level 4 or 7.

I don’t necessarily think that I am a better person, just that I am getting a better workout.  And something I have discovered about reading while working out, is that once in a while I am endowed with a true ‘ah-hah’ moment.

These are rare while I am reading Hollywood gossip, and really I only read those magazines for the pictures, not the articles.  Sometimes, though, someone leaves an Oprah, or a MORE magazine at the gym and I end up reading something that actually changes me a little.  I return home with a renewed sense of purpose, an inspiration or a fresh perspective.

It was one of these moments that led me to hot yoga.  I was deep in the heart of an Oprah magazine.  “’Adventure’ doesn’t have to mean trekking through the jungle or bungee-jumping.  Being adventurous is to deliberately move outside of your comfort zone,” I read, heart-pounding, face red, and sweat pouring.

That night my girlfriend, Carlie, sent me a text.  The week before we had talked about how she did hot yoga, and how I wanted to try it.  This was the moment of truth, my moment to be adventurous.  “6 tomorrow morning.  Meet you there?”  I replied, “Sure!” before I could talk myself out of it.

So, I took my nearly 41-year-old tight hamstrings to hot yoga.

I loved it.  I loved being hot. I loved stretching myself – both literally and figuratively.  I enjoyed the low candle light and the relaxing, but very hip music (nary a whale call or a raindrop to be heard).  I thoroughly enjoyed a rhythmic and strengthening hour of Vinyasa.

Allow me to interject with the brief (and sporadic) history of “Sandy and Yoga”.

  • I can’t remember when I did my first class.  It was the 90s.
  • I had a crush on a beautiful, sexually-ambiguous Eurasian yoga instructor in Sydney, so I attended his classes each week for a whole month.
  • I do a series of sun salutations before I fly.
  • I lived with a yoga instructor, who chided me about doing weights and running, until I did a perfect jump-back from Crow to Plank, which finally shut her up.
  • I fell in love with ‘Body Balance’ classes, which combined yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates choreographed to music.  Those fed my body and my attention-span-of-a-two-year-old mind, but I moved to America where there are no Body Balance classes.
  • I did no yoga for 18 months, and became stiff and sore more frequently than stretching at the gym could combat.
  • I tried hot yoga and signed up for two months unlimited attendance.
  • I go here three times a week and I feel great.

Thank you, Carlie, for leading me on a new adventure.

I do sometimes question if I love the yoga, or the fact that it is hot in the studio.  Living in Seattle, I am rarely hot.  Showers are hot, of course, but I mean with my clothes on.  Most of the time I am focusing on ‘not being cold’, so the yoga studio offers welcome relief. Still, hot yoga is something I have always wanted to try, but never did ‘til now.

That makes it my adventure du jour.  Next is participating in a flash mob…

4 degrees of separation

Yesterday morning, Ben and I got up and went to the gym. This is not that unusual – he goes most mornings, and I often join him rather than going later in the day. Yesterday, however, it was 0 degrees Celcius when we left the house at 6:30, AND there was snow on the ground. It is a four block walk. We both kept our heads down and our shoulders hunched as the icy wind whipped around us.

“This is not the right jacket for this weather,” Ben said through chattering teeth. I was trying to ignore how the cold bit through my sweatshirt – or ‘windcheater’ as they are called in Australia. It was neither warming me enough to induce sweat OR cheating the wind.

There is a traffic light where we cross a busy intersection, and the wait can be minutes. We were lucky that it changed just as we approached, and we crossed for the final block of our journey. The beacon of the gym lights glowed ahead of us, and we quickened our pace. As we stepped through the double doors into the brightly lit entry, the heat washed over us and we both sighed, relieved.

I headed to the cardio equipment, and climbed on ready to take my body temperature from one extreme to the other. The long bay of windows overlooks Puget Sound, and interestingly, the path that runs alongside the water. I watched incredulous as runners, covered neck to ankle, made their way along the path in the 0 degree weather. “Crazy buggers,” I thought to myself smugly from the warmth of the gym.

Later in the day the sun broke through the dense cloud. I had walked up to the supermarket, as much to relieve the effects of cabin fever as to shop, and the fresh air combined with the milky sunlight seduced me into going for a run. When I got home I suited up – neck to ankle – with running pants, gloves, hat, and fleece, and headed out to the path alongside the Sound.
View of Sound

It was chilly, but it felt good to breathe the crisp air, and to watch the sun slip below the mountains in a fiery haze.
Last Glimpses
Sunset over Puget Sound

I did a 3 mile (5 km) circuit and returned home, feeling energized. After a quick restorative shower, I sat down to write some emails. I looked at my desktop, where a widget proclaims the temperature in Celcius. 4 degrees. 4! Four little degrees are what separate me from the ‘crazy buggers’ on their morning run.

I feel that I MAY just be acclimating to the cold. Just a bit.

This morning when we left the house, it was -1C and snowing. Although we dressed better for it than yesterday, and I am getting somewhat used to the cold, I still say, “Roll on summer!”