back on the mat

I did a lot of yoga in December. I know, I know, a triathlete who turns into a yogi over the off season is about as cliché as it gets. But I just really like it.

So sue the (so comfy I live in them) pants off me.

Thanks to a trial membership from a local startup called Fitn, for 30 sun salutation soaked days, I enjoyed access to a wide range of fitness studios. Yoga is just one of Fitn’s many offerings (think Pilates, TRX, Spin, and Cross Fit), whose mission is to bring all kinds of classes to the masses—for a set monthly fee.

mantra yoga carlsbad

After one TRX torture session, a rowdy spin class full of pregnant women, and playing ballerina on a Pilates reformer table, yoga quickly emerged as my preferred activity. The best part of Fitn is that you can go to your favorite studio for an unlimited number of classes. (I should’ve started paying rent to Yoga Six.) Yoga has this way of calling to me when my off season hits, then working its way into my life so that I start to actually crave it.

Fitn brings the wonders of technology to the studio drop-in experience. The app is clean and intuitive; each morning I’d open it up to a full list of activities within my radius. (5 miles–I don’t leave the North County bubble thankyouverymuch). Inherently flexible, It “fit in” (ha ha) well with my playful approach to training for the month. You select your class with a simple click, and then closer to the class time you hit another button to “Check In.” Once at the studio, there’s no digging around for your wallet, waiting in line, or running your credit card. You just flash your phone screen, unroll your mat, and settle into child’s pose. It’s the easiest thing you’ll do all day.

yoga 80

I also tried Yoga 80, across from Tip Top meats (fave!) in Carlsbad.

Maybe it was the unusually “chilly” temperatures we had for a few weeks last month, making the yoga studios’ 85-100 degree range feel like an hour of summer. Maybe it was Mantra’s killer (and affordable) juice/smoothie bar (cliché alert number two!) and live-music savasannas. Maybe it was that shoulder/head massage that some instructors do during the final resting pose. (No! Come back with your lavender essential oil-scented magic hands!) Maybe it’s how yoga is so antithetical to triathlon. How do I love thee? For those who aren’t already sick of hearing me talk about yoga (i.e: my riding partners), let me count the ways:

  • Yoga forces us to stretch for those of us who find it hard to make/find the time.
  • It’s inherently communal. There’s something warm and nurturing about being so physically close to other humans, sweating away in a small space together.
  • It’s not inherently competitive, but still allows us Type A’s to work towards goals and push ourselves. Because each pose has another extension/level, I find myself enjoying working towards some of the more advanced versions. (Though I’m still in the “flail your legs wildly in the air” phase of handstand.)
  • Yoga introduces you to new aspects of your body. In place of heart rate or V02 max or Functional Threshold Power, comes strength, stamina, and balance, and the ability to quiet the mind and use the breath to inspire movement.
  • Yoga is atmospheric. It might not partake of the great outdoors like triathlon (unless you’re doing it on the beach, as I did under my brother’s tutelage in August), but many studios feel like little sanctuaries. (Re:form in Carlsbad, below, is of note.) With that and some good music, yoga morphs from just another workout into an experience.
  • Yoga is pretty. OK, maybe not me falling out of dancer’s pose, but the human body in a Vyoga flow is just plain aesthetically pleasing.

Re:Form yoga in Carlsbad, with mason jar lights and backwards quotes on the walls so you can read them in mirror.

Whatever it was, when my membership expired on Saturday, I felt like a dear friend had just moved away. I liked it so much that I just had to sign up for another month…and nudge the start to my real triathlon training back another month or so.

December (and the end of November, and so far the beginning of January) was a languid season for me. I socialized a lot and read a little, rode my bike a lot and ran a little, did a lot of yoga and a little shopping. Even being sick came with its perks, like watching Wild at home alone on New Year’s Eve while my friends smoked a duck. Now, January is here and I’m not feeling as stoked about resolutions as I normally do. As someone who is practically ruled by goals most of the year, resolutions suddenly seem vapid. At least for me, and at least this year—for a few reasons I’m not quite open-book enough to share here.


My go-to place, Yoga Six, is just around the corner.

January feels like a bridge from that slow December world back into real life. Whatever that means. Back into a harder, more rigid world of setting goals and making plans—and all the sparkles and scuffs living there brings with it. Aside from signing up for the Desert Tri Olympic (March 1st), I’m still fence-sitting my race schedule. For the rest of the month, I see warriors and crows in my future. And that elusive handstand—maybe with the odd interval run thrown in when the training fire strikes.

February will come fast. And then, I dream.

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