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muscle flexing.

Posted Feb 18 2011 12:00pm

pumpkin and flax pancakes with almond butter; caramelized banana.

Last night, I added the following event to my iPhone calendar:

February 18, 2010
6:30 AM – 7:15 AM
Title: Run!
Location: Outside!!

A high of 65 degrees! It’s almost beautiful outside today.

I don’t typically schedule exercise into my calendar – I’m a planner, but even that is too type A for me. But this was a special occasion. Ballet flat weather in mid-February? I had an unbreakable date with the East River.

I love that I am able to exercise my brain on a daily basis at my job. I love that I have friends and family with whom I can share intelligent conversations, and I am thankful that I am capable of writing and reading and generally utilizing my mind each day. I think our brains are the most important muscle to flex.

But as my workload seems to be quadrupling on a daily basis, I am realizing how critical it is for my overall well-being to take the opportunity to shut my brain off.

That’s where exercise comes in. Because when your yoga teacher is bellowing out, “Feel the now,” as mine did on Wednesday evening, and when all you can feel in the now is the burning sensation screaming from your triceps up through your shoulders, as I did in that class – well, you can’t think of anything else. You can’t dwell on work or relationships or life dramas of any kind.

After 11 hours of writing and thinking and completing some algebra and writing some more, I experienced such release in that yoga class. I no longer had to be in charge of my life. All I had to do was follow the lead of my teacher. All I had to do was perform whatever movement he told me to do. All I had to do was breathe.

I sometimes wonder how people are able to survive without exercising physically, because those few hours a week are so vital to my sanity. It doesn’t have to happen every day, and for me it certainly doesn’t. But the knowledge that I have a yoga class or a run to look forward to throughout the week does so much for me.

And that is why this morning, in the warm weather, I ran for a little while. I came home, ate pumpkin pancakes for breakfast , and I was ready to face the day.

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