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Saturday, May 13, 2006


Rainy day in Boston

Saturday morning, Boston. I was in town for a conference that ended Friday, but my flight home wasn't until Saturday evening (my husband was in town too, for training, which ended Saturday afternoon), so I had the day all to myself. After spending all day Friday sitting still, listening to dull academic lectures, I was dying for some yoga - ready to get out of my head and back into my body. And I was looking forward to having some time by myself to explore the city - I'd been there a million times, but couldn't remember ever having even so much as an hour to myself. I asked a friend of mine who lives there to recommend a yoga place, and she pointed me to Exhale, a day spa/yoga studio right off of the Boston public gardens.

I set the alarm for 9:30 so I could easily make it to an 11am class without rushing, but between the rain and my general proclivity for sleeping well past an alarm, I woke up at 10:50. When I had called to reserve my spot in class the day before, the receptionist had emphasized the importance of arriving early, and warned me, "if you're here at 11:05, we can't let you in." But I had been looking forward to this class so much that my desire to make it drowned out logic, and I leapt out of bed and was out the door in 5 minutes. As I stood on the street in the pouring rain, with cab after cab zooming by me, I almost gave up -- but I was craving yoga so deeply, and this studio sounded like it would be such a great space - so I held out hope. Up pulled a cab ("this is the kind of day for staying inside, listening to music, drinking wine and cooking," the cab driver said), and at 11:06 I arrived at Exhale.

I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't be able to get into the 11:00, but thought maybe I could take a different class later in the day, or sign up for one of their spa services. "I'm so sad," I said to the woman behind the desk when it was my turn, "I'm late for your 11:00." Then, wonder of wonders, she said, "it's ok" - and after quickly filling out a form and paying my $18 entrance fee, I was on my way to the yoga studio downstairs. Moments later a staff member slid open a wooden door (it looked like the entrance to an ancient Asian temple) and I entered the studio.

I was 20 minutes late, but it was an hour and a half class, so I still got a generous practice, and it felt wonderful. I missed the warm-up, so at first my muscles felt a little creaky, and I felt more awkward than graceful as we flowed from pose to pose. But I was patient with myself, and breathed deeply, and by the end of practice I was deeply, deeply relaxed.

When the lights came up, I rose slowly, and glided out into the hallway, where I discovered a locker room stocked with fuzzy robes, soft towels, bottles of lotion - in other words, heaven for this sensual Taurus. I took a shower, and water rained down on me from the shower head in the ceiling; I took my time getting dressed, and blew my hair dry, something I never take the time for. On my way out I browsed the shop up front, touching the soft, soft fabrics of the (dramatically overpriced) yoga clothes for sale, and made myself a cup of tea.

I eventually drifted back up to the main level, and out onto the street, where the rain was still pouring down. I found my way to a restaurant someone at Exhale had recommended, called Parish Cafe, where I sat at the bar and ordered a fritatta sandwich; I savored every buttery bite. Afterwards I ducked into a store across the street that turned out to be a wonderland of beautiful paper, journals, notecards and art supplies. I was in heaven.

I share this story as an example of how restorative it can be to spend a day, or even a few hours, letting yourself do whatever it is you want to do - whether it's watching a football game or taking a dance class or working in your garden. I also share because as I mentioned in my last post, I am playing with the idea of creating an inspirational space here in DC - and my day in Boston left me more convinced than ever of the power such places have to change the entire fabric of a person's day.

This is an evocative piece. Thank you for sharing these feelings. lwmyBf
Running off on a complete tangent to the point of the story, and not to sound overly man-rific, but what the heck are yoga clothes? Sweatpants still seem to me like the pinnacle of exercise related comfort.
John - you can definitely do yoga in sweatpants :). But because you turn your body every which way in yoga, tighter-fitting clothes are better, otherwise you have floppy fabric hanging in your face when you're upside down. The yoga clothes at this boutique were not only tighter-fitting, they were made of fancy wikking fabric and incredibly soft...people who have the money for it or who care about it can get a whole yoga wardrobe going. I personally wear the same pair of Old Navy yoga pants to every class...
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