Posted tagged ‘exercise’

Benefits of Obessiveness (Visiting Parents)

December 3, 2010


December Eve in FL

Sometimes it’s good to have lifelong obsessions.    One of these times is a visit to parents.   My parents are, frankly, pretty undemanding.  And yet there is something amazing about how time, plans, routines slip away when I visit them.  To some degree, this is exactly as it should be, since I really am here to spend time with them, not to write (i) a novel (ii) or blog (iii) or tax memo, or (iv) to hang out extensively at the beach.

And yet…  and yet… there is also something about the atmosphere of the parental home (and I don’t think it’s just my parents’ home) that seems to crumple discipline, will, even in those moments in which we are not actively “visiting”.  (I find myself, in other words, reading old Readers’ Digests late at night.)

These are moments when even more deeply ingrained obsessive conduct is very welcome.  In my case, it’s a mania for exercise.

I’m not systematic or forceful enough for true fitness.  But I have, since my teenage years, been pretty obsessive about moving my body around every day, shaking things up, as it were.

I can’t somehow do my regular yoga practice in Florida.  Astanga yoga is a practice involving a fair amount of bouncing (jump-throughs) and it doesn’t really work on carpeting (rug burns), or concrete (fractured wrists), or even sand (sand).  (And then, of course, there’s that whole will/discipline problem here.)

But running around on dark streets lit with Christmas lights works pretty well.  Even an occasional Tree pose.

Thank goodness.


Running Late – Exercise On the Go

May 15, 2010

Running Late (and Slightly Elongated)

Followers of this blog know of my earnest, if multi-tasking, devotion to Astanga Yoga and the elliptical machine, but I’ve yet to discuss my most efficient method of getting regular exercise.  This is to leave a bit late for nearly everywhere I go.

I am not sure that this exercise method would be effective in more car-friendly environments (where you might only accumulate speeding tickets), but if you are running late in New York City, you usually are also trotting, jogging, speed walking, scooting, maneuvering, and dashing, late.

There’s nothing like that “whiled-away fifteen minutes” after your pre-set time of departure –you know, that time spent not departing when you are hopelessly trying to find something to wear that feels “right”, sweeping your kitchen, taking your vitamins, circling back to your apartment to turn off your iron—to get the old legs moving, and that regretful heart pumping.

In addition to the physical benefits of running as quickly as possible, for as long as possible, along a crowded street, there are also certain psychological benefits to a chronic lack of punctuality.  If, for example, you are trotting alongside your husband, who is also perennially late, you will find every single unresolved issue between you coming to the fore and absolutely ripe for frank discussion.

Even if you are chasing along on your own, you will happen onto epiphanies.  Chief among these is a clear understanding, usually (eventually) reached while waiting for a subway train (which, because you need to make time, is delayed) of the impotence of your individual decisions; your relative puniness in the universe; the fact that you are subject to great forces—fate, the MTA, your own inability to leave on time–forces that are determined to always make you late, forces that you must simply accept.

Hopefully, around the time you reach this understanding, you will find yourself in a place with cell reception.