This morning, I escaped. I put gas in the car, dropped the boys at school, and headed up I-70 to Loveland. It was my first time on skis this season, not because I haven’t wanted to ski but because I’m reluctant to spend good money to scuff up my skis on exposed rocks. Seeing that Loveland finally had a 43″ base, I decided it was worth the trip.
I got a perfect parking spot in the third row in the lot so I didn’t have far to walk. I had my ticket on my jacket already, so I skied right to the lift without any hassle. There were no lift lines so I hopped right on Lift 2 and rode straight up to Bennett’s Bowl. It’s normally a bit icy up there so close to the Continental Divide at 12,000 feet, but it wasn’t bad at all. The sun was out. There was a light breeze and some powder left to be had. The day was shaping up quite nicely.
About halfway through my fourth run, something amazing occurred to me. My legs weren’t tired. As an occasional skier, I’m used to my legs getting tired (okay, okay, my quads actually burn) when I ski. But, I was busting out runs without having to stop to rest. On the ride up in my car, I was planning for a short day because I’d put in about 20 miles in exercise between Monday and Tuesday and experience has shown that I’m good for next to nothing on my third consecutive day of cardio. But, it wasn’t until my 10th run that I finally started to fatigue. I put in three solid hours on the slopes riding up and skiing down. Then, satisfied with my ski morning, I hopped in my car so I would be home in time to shower and pick up my kids from school.
On the drive home I was feeling a bit puffed up by my awesomeness. I’m going to be 44 in a few months. It was my first day on the slopes all season, and it was pleasantly pain free. When I got home, I was unloading my car and wiping down my skis when I spied my yoga mat. Suddenly it all became very clear for me. This past Saturday was my yogaversary. Two years ago on January 21st, 2010, I stepped on a yoga mat for the first time and my life changed. That mat in the back of my car is the reason why I can bust out a day as an occasional skier without pain. Yoga is my cross-training secret. No matter what sport I am doing, as long as I’m practicing yoga two to three times a week I’m set.
Yoga is a gift. It clears my head, balances my spirit, tones and stretches my muscles, and brings me peace. I’m stronger now at 43 than I was at 33. Yoga is the only explanation for this phenomena that makes sense. I can do the things I do in my 40s, like lift my 60 pound son and ski and cycle without pain, because I practice yoga. So much of who I am today is tied to this profound ancient practice. If you haven’t already, you really should try it. If you stick with it for a couple classes, you’ll thank me. You know, it’s not just for hippies anymore.