Sweaty Wednesday by Sara (Alternate Title: The Hippie in Me)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You know the song from "The King and I," the song about "getting to know you"? My 2nd Grade teacher, Mrs. Hinton, would sing it to us all the time. "Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me ..."

If I'm remembering right, Mrs. Hinton would sing a few lines to us before doing a spotlight moment on one of my classmates, asking them their favorite color and food and other interesting things like that, because those things matter when you're in 2nd Grade (and nowadays, they matter only slightly less).

If we were having a grown-up "Getting to Know You" moment, know what I'd say? Among other things, I'd tell you that my heart has serious hippie tendencies. In other words:

I believe in peace, love, harmony, and non-violent protest.

I would totally drive a technicolor VW bus.

I sometimes daydream about living in an earthy commune.

Sitting by a campfire and singing "What the World Needs Now is Love" holds great appeal for me.

When I see footage of 1960s students putting daisies in the guns of soldiers, it brings a tear to my eye.

This is relevant, I promise.

Tonight, I participated in an exercise practice called Nia. "Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that leads to health, wellness and fitness. It empowers people of all shapes and sizes by connecting the body, mind, emotions and spirit." (That comes straight from the official website, so you know it's true.)

Nia is made up of movements from yoga, dance, and the martial arts. Calling it "active" and "joyous" is a serious understatement. I attended a class tonight at my local studio, and it just filled me with empowerment and spirit. My body felt amazing; my mind and heart felt even better.

As I drove home, I reflected on how much I loved the night's class, and at the same time, I noted that the very things I enjoyed about it would seem hokey or downright weird to a lot of people. Those hippie-esque sentiments that feel so comfortable for me (sensing your own energy, connecting with the earth, connecting to a greater consciousness, embracing your body's rhythm, feeling the pulse of the planet beneath your bare feet) are really crazy in other people's eyes. And for loving those sentiments, maybe I seem crazy, too.

But as a kind of 2011 hippie, I can calmly say that I'm cool with that.

Parlor Hawk t-shirt: gift from our neighbors, one of whom is the lead singer of Parlor Hawk
Cut-off pajama pants: hand-me-down from a former roommate
Leggings: Target, $5 (a few years back)

Kyla from Blue Collar Catwalk does a regular "Sweaty Wednesday" post, wherein she talks a bit about her exercise regime and shows off her workout clothes in all their sweaty glory, and she's asked her readers to play along and share their own workout goals/progress. It's sheer coincidence that she put out this call on the same day the Nia class was offered, but a nice coincidence all the same.

My workout goals don't say anything about losing or gaining weight, toning up, looking good in a swimsuit -- nothing like that, nothing quite that measurable. My long-term goal is just to feel good and powerful in my body, and I won't be able to do that if my bones are aching or my muscles are weak. I think Nia will be a great way to appreciate my range of movement and increase energy, a great way to feel good and powerful.

Aside from that, my more finite workout goal isn't in the results; it's in the practice. My goal is to attend at least one Nia class per week (two are offered, so it should work fine with a changing schedule like mine). If tonight is any indication, benefits will definitely come as I achieve this goal each week, but I'm trying not to develop any preconceived notions about what those benefits will be.

So, here's to Nia, and here's to feeling good and powerful. What a happy, sweaty Wednesday it's been.

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