Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I noticed her retro 80 yoga pants when she walked in the room: black bell bottoms with yellow and purple triangles down the sides.

"Check the pants!" Kelli giggled in response.

We set up our mats in the back of the room, closest to the door. Core Power likes to turn up the heat and humidity, conducive to large puddles of sweat gathering beneath you by the end of class. We were a few minutes early, so I laid down, closed my eyes and cleared my mind.

Once class started, I noticed a guy set his mat directly in front of mine, making it difficult to see myself in the mirror so I moved a few inches to the right. Triangle pants lead us through today's Core Fusion and our poses focused on balance, core and mindfulness.

I struggle to maintain a regular yoga practice. It's not that I don't like it - every time I show up to practice a huge smile passes across my face. I can sense the immediate benefits - from a mental standpoint to a physical sense the following day when my muscles feel good and open. But for some reason, it's hard to show up as little as once a week.

So to make up for that time away, today I was super charged. I concentrated during every pose, focusing on my breath and steady gaze in the mirror. No small task as the fella in front of me had a hard time balancing that day- falling out of the majority of the poses. Yet I found amongst the chaos, I could focus even more. This was my session, and nothing was going to stand in the way of me getting everything I wanted out of it.

"Nice focus, Jennifer."

Thanks, triangle pants.

That practice was on Monday. On tap for today was a 3 hour ride with 4 sets of 5 x minute 30 second super threshold intervals, and a minute recovery. I spun out to Kansas through Fort Carson and started my sets once out of the town of Fountain. They required focus - feeling the pressure on the pedals, focusing your gaze ahead and no where else. It's hard not to let the mind wander. But when something is border line painful, it's easy to focus on the task at hand. Eyes down the road, I imagined chasing down competitors, chasing down that finish line, giving it everything I had. Intervals whizzed by. Afterward I thought back to my yoga practice. How having a steady gaze and letting your body do the work and not judging things or letting thoughts interrupt your work is so important in sport, so important in life.

You never know when you'll need this kind of singular attention. But in sports it is a handy tool to have; a necessary tool to have. It puts off the reality of pain when following someones wheel; allows you to block out distractions; allows you to feel the physical sensations and lets your mind tell your body to push, harder, deeper, stronger.

I look forward to my next practice session and hopefully will make it a regular routine.

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