I have two new lovers in my life. Well, one new lover and one former flame rekindled. They rock me for hours and leave me a sweaty mess. My arms and legs are left shaking and most of the time, after I’m finished I just lie there afterwards and bask in the afterglow.
God, I love me some hot yoga and good old-fashioned roller derby.
For at least the last year, I’ve treated my body like shit and as a result, m I kind of got stuck in a place where I shouldn’t have allowed myself to be. But thanks to a slap-across-the-face style wake up call, I found a desire to move all those muscles I hadn’t moved in a while. And wouldn’t you know, I found two of the most different, forms of exercise a person probably could, but they actually end up complementing each other very well.
Most of you know that I played roller derby for three years (if you didn’t, well, hello and welcome to my blog or where the hell have you been?) and in those three years, I developed some of the most incredible muscles in my legs, ass and arms. Physically, it was, and still is, the most grueling activity I have ever participated in.
Due to several reasons, burnout being the primary one, I retired from my league about a year and a half ago and was resigned to the fact that I may never play again because there was no way of getting my skills back up to where they needed to be in order to rejoin the league.
Suddenly and fortuitously, recreational derby leagues started popping up. Apparently many women (and now men) want to play derby without the confines of a league.
Last Sunday, I laced up my skates for the first time in a year and took to some sport court in a warehouse on the outskirts of Denver. I was jittery as I stepped out. Afraid my body wouldn’t be able to skate the amount of energy I knew it would require to skate for 2 hours. And then, with the push of my right skate, I was off, and it felt like I had never left.
Ok. It felt like I hadn’t skated in a year, that’s for damn sure, and the sport court made my toes numb in 15 minutes. But the track felt like home the instant I started crossing.
When I skate, I feel my quads, my hamstrings, my gluts and my back pushing and pushing and pushing until they’re screaming at me to stop. But I don’t. I keep going because this moment right here when I tell my muscles to shut the fuck up and do what I say, is the moment I feel the most alive.
I leave roller derby practice feeling invigorated and jubilant, because in two hours, I conquered my own body.
Recently I started taking yoga about 3-4 times a week. It was love from downward facing dog. I never
knew that exercise could feed both the body and soul simultaneously. Yoga helps me increase strength, balance and flexibility and at the same time, I spend an hour in deep meditation and breathing.
I won’t lie, the increased core strength will (eventually) help my balance on the track, so it does serve a greater purpose, but when I am in the yoga studio, everything outside the studio walls melts away. I focus on my breathing and I listen to my body. When my muscles and tendons and joints say stop, I listen, but I don’t give up.
When I hold still in one pose and my arms, stomach and legs all start to shake from strain, I quietly breathe and focus on my muscles. Yelling and swearing at muscles in yoga is generally frowned upon.
After and hour, I leave yoga feeling centered and strong and I feel completely connected to every ounce of tissue in my body.
So there it is, the yin and yang of maintaining my sanity currently. The nice thing is, in a few months, I’ll be able to kick ass all over the track and at the end of the scrimmage, I’ll be like, “Hands to third eye, bitches!”
Hip checks and Namaste.