OK, it’s no secret by now that I like doing yoga. (And I’m sure you’re all probably sick of hearing about it—and that’s too bad for you, because it’s pretty much been my obsession lately.) Honestly, it’s the one exercise that doesn’t bore me silly—and pretty much the only one that I can stand doing, besides taking long, relaxing walks with Iwanski.
However, as I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been reading this book called “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain”—and the one exercise that the author consistently mentions that is important to brain function is rigorous cardio exercise (i.e. not long, relaxing walks).
Rigorous cardio exercise? Ugh. I can’t run, because of my stupid plantar fasciitis foot. (It’s getting better, but not good enough to run yet.) And I don’t even really like running, anyway.
We do have a small workout room in our apartment building, with a couple of elliptical machines and exercise bikes. But for some reason, to me, using the elliptical machine feels like death. I can only handle doing that for a few minutes at a time. And biking on a stationery bike bores me to tears.
We also have a pool in our apartment building. But the whole process of having to change into a swimsuit, go swimming, and then going back up to our apartment, taking a shower, blow-drying my air, etc…etc…it just feels like too much of a hassle to me. (I know, I’m a big whiner. But seriously, people always think that if they have a pool in their building, they will use it all the time. Trust me, you don’t.)
So what is one Miss Healthypants to do, for cardio exercise? I wondered. Would I have to succumb to the big bad elliptical machine or the boring-ass stationery bike?
Well, about halfway through this morning’s “Music Yoga Flow” class, I had my answer. Yoga, my dear friends, can CERTAINLY count as rigorous cardio exercise. At least if it’s the “Music Yoga Flow” class at Exhale Spa Chicago.
First of all, when my friend and I walked into the studio, I almost immediately started sweating—and that was even before we started moving! It had to be about 85 degrees in there, at least. When we sat down on our mats, the girl next to me suggested right away that we both go get a towel.
“You’re gonna sweat a lot, trust me,” she said.
I started to get nervous. How hard was this class gonna be?
I soon had my answer. About halfway through our SEVENTY sun salutations (yes, I said seventy—for those of you who know what a sun salutation is, you know that it was hard work!), I thought, “Good Lord, what is this teacher thinking?” (I know that there are some studios that sometimes do 108 sun salutation classes, but I’ve always thought those people were insane. I still kinda do.)
As for the music, I was really grateful to have the mix of reggae, blues, rock, and light hip-hop to keep me motivated. I really enjoyed that part of the class.
Nonetheless, as I was breathing heavily and saw sweat droplets fall from my face onto my yoga mat, I started to wonder if I could really keep moving. The teacher mentioned that it was an “intense cardiovascular workout”—and I thought, “Duh!”
And then I thought “Yay!” Yoga can be cardio. I can get everything I need in yoga.
Thank God. Because every other kind of exercise pretty much sucks ass.