I have had the most ridiculously amazing week!
It all began on Tuesday when I laced up my tennis shoes and made my way over to see Trace Morgan for Yoked. There was someone I had never met before who apparently asked for a "hard class" before I arrived. Well, I have never felt the need to ask that and Trace decided to deliver. After switching between the bike and the TRX bands for an hour he told us we could get water and grab a mat... for a final "Plank Party" as he so endearingly calls them: 1 minute high plank, 1 minute side plank dips (both sides), 1 minute high-to-low planks, 1 minute low plank. That's it... not too bad you say? It's nearly impossible and I love him for it.
Wednesday - that's right. Megan Conner. Barry's Bootcamp. Enough said. But, for those of you who aren't familiar, at Barry's you switch off between the floor exercises and the treadmill. Wednesday is Chest and Back day so there were a lot of rows and flys happening on the floor. And in between all that there was running... running is not something that I love, I like it, but I don't love it. I don't run in my spare time. So sweet, sweet Megan Conner so kindly reminded me that their treadmills go up to 12... easy for the regular Barry's attendee it seems. Not so easy for the newbies of us in the group... I'll keep working on it. I felt amazing after class - like I had been given some sort of life challenge that had to be faced head-on and I was ready! Look out Treadmill, I'm coming for ya!
So on Thursday I headed over to Results Fitness to take class with Lauren Ledford. She was fully equipped with the aforementioned treadmill that needed to be faced - and then told me to bump the incline up to 24, and at one point we were walking backwards, and then we were "running" at an incline of 21! AND THEN WE GOT ON A ROWING MACHINE! And then we did jumping jacks with a weighted bar, and then we did bosu everything, and then we did standing twists with a medicine ball. AND THEN WE GOT BACK ON THE ROWING MACHINE AND THEN BACK ON THE TREADMILL! Whew. Fortunately I don't get very sweaty so that's good... actually I get super sweaty and had to go home immediately and take a shower and go to bed. I still love you Lauren and I thank you for kicking my ass and I'm so looking forward to it happening again!
But before I went to bed on Thursday night, I may or may not have thought that I saw that Steadfast and True was offering an 8:30am community class on Good Friday Morning. My thoughts exactly (what a GREAT Friday Morning)! So I shake off my aches and head over to the beautifully calm building on the corner of Edgehill and Villa. I walk in with my mat all prepared for this community class... that happens on THURSDAYS! But Gillian, the studio owner, reminded me that she has the power to make things happen! So I set up my mat towards the back with a blanket and a block and was ready to just let go. And that's exactly what happened. I wasn't even prepared for the goodness that was about to come out of this Asana class, but I let my breath take over and allowed my mind to meditate with the amazingness that is Gillian's teaching. On the Steadfast and True website, it says,
Gillian is teacher’s teacher. She has a reputation for taking the asana away only to give it back specifically designed to suit the students individual needs. Her motto of ‘define and refine’ is exactly how she teaches each class. No matter the level or style of class be it 2 people or 200 she’s talking directly to you. ‘Once you know where to go then you can flow.'
And that can't be more true. Gillian pointed out that there were 4 teachers in the room that morning. There were only 10 students total. I had some of the most practice-changing adjustments that I have ever had. And I walked out of the building and into a over-cast and slightly chilly Nashville morning, rejuvenated, energized and at peace with what my day was about to be. Not to mention, my previously tight and slightly achy body was now relaxed, strong and ready to take on the world, well at least the day.
Which brings us to Practice Studios in Franklin on Saturday morning. I was first introduced to Practice Studios through twitter when @Heathermckiel said "@getfit615 you guys rock! You need to check out @practicestudios my new addiction" So guess what happened... we checked it out. When I say that it was the most welcoming studio I have ever been to I sincerely mean that. You walk into a big beautifully lit room with a few cubbies on on side and mirrors surrounding the rest. Right near the door, in this same room, is a tiny little desk where you check in. No one was at the desk, so I signed the paperwork for new students and followed the other students by grabbing a red mat, two 8lb dumbbells, a resistance loop and a medicine ball. The sweetest lady walked up to me with a huge smile on her face and said, "Hi I'm Eden. You must be Kate." Scott and Eden de Rozic are the owners and founders of Practice Studios and they are both amazing people! Eden walked me through a few of the basics and made sure I had everything I needed. Before class even started, 3 of the students had welcomed me to Practice and made me feel right at home. We did some exercises in the center floor with the dumbbells and resistance loop using small and controlled movements. Then we moved to the barre where my legs were quaking the majority of the time. We moved back to the center for some winding down and abs. The class had the widest variety of folks that I have ever seen! There was an amazing athlete in the class in her late 20s I'd say, a 60 year old woman who explained to me that she was doing the Practice Challenge (20 classes in 30 days), a 60 some guy who was totally having the time of his life, a few people who had obviously done this before, and then me, a first timer. After class I was approached by nearly everyone who took the class. I was welcomed into their space and was made to feel right at home. I then had a few minutes to hang out with Eden and Scott, and by a few minutes, I think it was over two hours. We just got to chatting about everything from their backgrounds all the way to our points of view on the modern food industry and western medicine. I could go on and on about how amazing they are, but I will save that for another time.
Saturday afternoon around 3:45 I was about to head to The Turnip Truck, when I realized that it was nearly 4:30! And one of my favorite things happens at 4:30 on Saturdays: Ruby teaches a 75 minute class at Shakti Power Yoga. So I detoured to Shakti to spend a little time on my mat and basking in the glow that is Ruby's teaching. Also, the Shakti sisters' dog Clark was basking in the beautiful afternoon sunshine that graces their downstairs studio and I love him. But back to Ruby - her smile just lights up a room and helps you remember that life doesn't have to be all that hard - but then we come to tree pose. She tells us to find a partner and look at them, complete eye-contact with a total stranger throughout the entire posture. This was like camel... it brought up a lot of feelings for me. It was totally awkward, and perhaps, invasive? I never make such continuous eye contact with one person and it was intimate. You wanted to look away, or say something like *giggle giggle,* but Ruby told us to be still, and be quiet. It was interesting and I loved it. Yoga is so much more than just a physical practice and we too often forget that. Ruby reminded me on Saturday that it is supposed to connect us to one another by way of ourself. Some of us were comfortable enough to stand and stare deep into a strangers eyes for a minute, but others felt so uncomfortable that they kept falling out of the posture and found it nearly impossible to find their breath. Meanwhile, Patty Griffin sings:
Tomorrow may rain with sorrow
Here's a little time we can borrow
Forget all our troubles in these moments so few
All we've got right now, the only thing that
All we really have to do
Is have ourselves a heavenly day
and it was a heavenly day.
And then came Sunday. Easter Sunday. And on this beautiful day I couldn't help myself from bathing in God's beauty by spending it outside at the Stones River Greenway with my little black dog. Six miles later, her tongue was dragging the ground while her tail wagged, and I have a minor sunburn and a small blister on my toe to prove that it was a marvelous day.