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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

madre knows best

Yoga Madre
300 East Foothill Boulevard, Arcadia, CA 91006
(626) 303-1004
website: www.yogamadre.com

Our goal is to provide the San Gabriel community a warm, safe place to learn and experience the wonderful self-discipline of yoga, where all our students and clients will always feel welcome. In addition to over 45 Yoga classes of various levels per week, Yoga Madre also offers Pilates classes, Massage and Skin Care services.

We specialize in Yoga Therapy and private Yoga classes in order to meet the needs of all our clients, regardless of age, injury or illness.

Yoga Madre is committed to practicing and teaching the ideals of the basic Yoga philosophy: showing compassion, acting with kindness, practicing tolerance and sending love to all. We strongly believe that with Yoga, your life can be transformed for the better.

my kids are lucky that i mothered them better than i mother myself.

when it comes to receiving an award for mother of the year, i know i'm not up there on the list of contenders. i didn't spend my weekends shuttling my kids from soccer field to ballet classes to piano lessons. nor did i spend my evenings slaving away in the kitchen while preparing nutritious home-cooked meals from scratch. or my days combing craft store shelves for materials to construct unique halloween costumes, creative party favors, or personalized christmas gifts.

ok, so i'm guilty of taking shortcuts. it wasn't unusual to find me and my kids stopping at the nearest fast food drive-thru for a happy meal on the way home from school. or madly dashing with them through party store aisles to find something to wear to the halloween party the next day. so while i may not have been the model of perfection, i believe that as a mother, i really didn't do too badly; my two daughters have turned out to be quite healthy and happy. they've brought home excellent grades, they've never run afoul of the law, and they don't cringe when they find me chatting with their friends. i must have done something right.

as for my being able to nurture my own self, i can probably do much better.

last saturday, i ran 16 miles, the longest distance i've run since i completed my last marathon in october 2005. and while i really can't consider that physically abusive in itself, the fact that i consumed no more than 16 ounces of water and one pack of energy gel during that run is. so is it no wonder that my legs and feet started to cramp when i was 12 miles into the run? i was so tired afterwards that by the time i got home, i had just enough energy left to plop myself on the couch and fall asleep.

a few hours later, feeling somewhat mobile again, i hopped in the shower, got dressed, and headed out the door once more, this time to greville henwood's level 2/3 class at yogaworks main street. he was subbing that afternoon, and since greville's classes are always a hoot (his forte is teaching kids' yoga classes, so things can get creative), i chose to ignore my aching muscles just to see how much "fun" i could have if i pushed myself even more. and as i had expected, i could barely keep up; i found myself in child pose a number of times, wishing that i was back on my couch, catching more zzz's.

on sunday morning, a mere fifteen hours after i rolled up my yoga mat, my endurance was going to be put to the test once again. my good friend CKD and i were about to embark on a 11 mile hike along the mount lowe railway trail that would eventually find us gazing out at the city landscape from a 4500-foot vantage point high up in the san gabriel mountains on what turned out to be an unusually warm and sunny day.

six hours later, by the time i pulled off my trail shoes to check out a fresh blister, the mothering instinct in me finally kicked in. it was time for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

since i knew i was going to be in the san gabriel valley, i had done some research earlier in the week and found a restorative yoga class in the area. it was at yoga madre in arcadia, just east of the trailhead in altadena. even if i had forgotten to print out mapquest directions to the studio, i figured that i'd be able to find it somehow. after all, it was on a major east-west street. what i didn't count on was it being much farther east than i thought it would be.

by the time i pulled into the parking lot next door, it was already 5pm, and the door to the studio was locked. i could clearly see all the items they had for sale in the lobby, but could not find any sign of life. i walked around the building and found the window to the asana room; through a crack in the blinds, i spotted the teacher and waved frantically at her. thankfully, she saw me and walked around to the front to let me in.

the class was already in meditation, and while i desperately needed to sit and just be, i also knew that i needed to change out of my grungy hiking shorts. so while they did their mental cleansing, i did some physical cleansing of my own in the restroom. once i considered myself aesthetically acceptable, i joined the class as they lay on the floor.

a good restorative yoga class can be considered chicken soup for the body. and that's exactly what amy friedman, a trained yoga therapist, treated us to that evening. through the use of blankets and bolsters, we moved slowly into various supported poses, opening our arms, legs, backs, hips, and shoulders into blissful submission. and even more delightful was that we weren't subjected to the usual compilation of yoga muzak. amy's choice of music was quite eclectic; i remember hearing songs sung in spanish, japanese, and english, as well as the soothing sounds of african drums and maybe even a chinese lute. and of course, there was the requisite sanskrit chant or two.

i wish i could say that i was miraculously energized and revitalized after amy's restorative class, but that would be expecting too much. after all, there's no way an hour and a half of relaxation could cure a day and a half of physical abuse. but it definitely helped. and that's all i was looking for.

yoga madre has a new student deal: pay $15 for your first class and your second class is free. so now i have to find another excuse to head back to the san gabriel valley to cash in on that freebie. maybe another hike up the san gabriel mountains? or maybe i should think about that once i've given myself a chance to recover from this weekend's madness...


Blogger Charlie Cory said...

It seems to me that you do what everyone else does with their kids; your best! There is no right or wrong way. At least that's my opinion.

I have a question about yoga and knee injuries. If a knee is sufficiently damaged to require a brace during normal exercise, is yoga still recommended and safe?

Knee Support

1:54 AM  
Blogger joni said...

hi charlie --

i may be working through a knee injury of my own, but since i don't need a brace to keep my knee stable, i suggest you ask an expert, such as an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist, or a knowledgeable yoga teacher who's been trained in yoga therapy.

good luck!


3:34 AM  

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