Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

What a day… full moon, Sox make the Playoffs, and NamasDAY. Does it get any better?

Tonight I returned to Exhale Back Bay, where I originally fell in love with yoga, for a vinyasa flow class with one of my favorite teachers, Amy Leydon. Today marked the third annual NamasDAY at Exhale, which I think is adorable and totally couldn’t miss. On NamasDAY, Exhale spas around the country celebrate National Yoga Month by holding select free classes with lots of fun add-ons like mini spa treatments, live music, and goody bags. I wasn’t able to make it last year, so it went on my calendar early this time around.

I signed up for a 6 PM vinyasa flow class with live music by the Grass Gypsys.

One of the things I love about Exhale is the little details, like this one, in the elevator from the main floor to the spa and yoga studios:

Ahhh.

When I arrived in the waiting area quite a bit early for class, I was lucky to find myself first in line for free mini massages.

Talk about bliss. The ten minute treatment was just enough to make me realize I might need some legit time on the table.

There was still some time to kill while a handful of yogis got the studio ready for our class, so I hung in the lounge flipping through an issue of Women’s Health. I was only half paying attention in the first place, so imagine my surprise when I came across a photo of one of my old friends!

Hi, John!

Actually, this guy and I have a sort of nutty history. We met in the Atlanta airport on spring break almost ten years ago. We were both stranded and spent most of the day chatting and wandering from gate to gate trying to hop a flight to Fort Myers. Eventually, we rallied two (also unrelated) senior citizens (Arthur and Theresa, actually), rented a car, and drove through the night to Florida. We’re still in touch every one in a while and I guess the rest is history!

Finally, it was time to get zen.

I was talking to Ashleigh last week about the different between practicing yoga at home and being part of the community in a classroom and we agreed the community is really what makes a practice special. I was reminded of that in full force in tonight’s very full classroom.

There’s really great energy in close quarters, especially in a really beautiful, peaceful studio like this one. Class started with a chanting mantra to Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. It was a theme throughout the night, as Amy reminded us as we settled into our breath, “breathe in the present, breathe out the past.”

Amy’s classes are a nice mix of meditation and flow, fairly slower paced, but with great deep stretching and balancing poses. Most of the balances I’ve attempted are because of the calm and confident way Amy talks us through them. While it was too crowded tonight, I love the way she has the class practice headstands and handstands. I’m pretty sure the day I master either will be in Amy’s class.

The live music from the Grass Gypsys was a lot of fun, too, and in another serendipitous moment, they sang the Kundalini guru chant that we sang during Gabrielle Bernstein’s speakeasy talk at Wanderlust! I loved that in one moment they were singing more traditional yogi tunes and the next they threw in some Van Morrison or Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

I left class centered and content, and then totally pumped to receive a goody bag full of fun samples.

There are a bunch of brands I’ve never tried before and am looking forward to sampling, especially the Vosges chocolate that Dave Romanelli talks about in his book and highlights as a centerpiece of his Yoga and Chocolate workshops. A Red Fire exotic chocolate bar, for attending a free class at one of the most luxe studios in Boston? Too good to be true, except it actually was.

Before class one day last fall, I had a massive stain on my yoga top so, being a sucker with a love for workout clothes, I bought a NamasDAY 2012 t-shirt for class. It read: Make my NamasDAY. Cute, right? Well, I felt like the kid in the “My aunt went to CANCUN and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” shirt, but I rock it and I own it because it’s totally awesome and this year, I wanted another. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any shirts for sale, but at least this year I got in on the actual trip instead of just receiving the t-shirt.