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Writing and yoga

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Over the past several months, I took part in Lore Wilbert’s Writing Mentorship course. If you don’t know Lore, well, me neither — at least not in person. But thanks to years of blog stalking, I’ve come to know her as a gorgeous writer: intentional, challenging, and smart as a whip. Our faith looks different in some ways, but I so respect the way she grapples with life and with God. In a world of “Christian influencers” where everyone is eager to spout off opinions on this or that, Lore balances both a weighty theology and a light-footed grace. She makes me want to know God more — which is to say, she makes me want to press further into mystery.

As a writer, I am learning that deadlines and accountability are my friends; this mentorship was a catalyst for writing more than I have written in years. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some of these pieces here on my blog, so be sure to check back.

In the meantime, one of the essays I wrote as a part of Lore’s course has found a home at Fathom Magazine, one of my favorite online spaces. Yay! It went live today. Here’s an excerpt, and here’s a link to the full piece.

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I open the door and the heat hits me like a solid wall. At 105 degrees, the air has morphed into a physical presence, thick and palpable, yet I willingly enter the room. I am early. I want to get a good spot, because the only thing worse than being strangled by heat is being strangled by heat and unable to follow the instructor. Not that I necessarily need a visual.

The sequence is always the same, 26 poses in unchanging order. Some might consider the repetition monotonous, but these days, I find the predictability a comforting liturgy. This flow has served as consistency when life has been anything but. I have been coming to this yoga studio for ten months now, ever since I left my home for the last time and drove south. Ever since the day everything fell apart. (Continue reading…)

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If you’re interested in Lore’s Writing Mentorship course, she’s planning on hosting another round in the fall. I can’t recommend it highly enough; she crafts the entire thing with such care, and I grew as a writer and a human. Follow her online and watch for the application!

This one’s for you, Mary…

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

There was once a time that I thought of myself as strong. But I have met my match, in the form of the new agey, sizzling activity known as HOT YOGA.

I am a 5’8″ cardio addict and gym rat. Walking, running, elliptical training, hiking, biking, kick boxing… you name it, I love it. When it comes to aerboic activity, I am confident and gung-ho. However, something has been missing from my workout routine – a little something known as “strength training.”

After having it recommended to me subsequently by my friends Mary, Matt, and Blake, I decided to give hot yoga a shot this afternoon. In case you haven’t heard of it, hot yoga is yoga (all those freaky bendy poses) in a 105 degree, 40% humidity, swelter-chamber. Never having done any yoga before, let alone hot yoga, it would be baptismal by sweat for me. Luckily, I was feeling adventurous, and so I showed up in my shorts and tank top, ready to take on anything.

And I was put through 90-minutes of absolute slogging.

Let me let you in on a little secret about Annie: I like to be in control AT ALL TIMES. I prefer situations for which I can plan ahead, dress appropriately, look cute the whole time, not draw any undesired attention to myself, and always, always succeed. But today, hot yoga shattered that calm, composed version of myself. I did not know that my body could sweat so much; I was unaware that eyelids and ear lobes and ankles and fingers were capable of perspiration. My body was twisted and stretched into bizarre contortions, worked over until every limb was shaking – nay, trembling – from fatigue. My ass has never been so kicked.

And just like that, I am hooked.

Ironically, the reason that I loved the experience so much? The mirrors. For a girl with pretty significant body image issues, I would have thought that an hour and a half of watching myself bend and shake and stretch and grimace – in short, confront my physical limitations – would be just about as appealing as having toothpicks shoved underneath my toenails. But I was shocked and amazed to discover that the opposite was true. Yes, at times I felt weak and inadequate – but simultaneously, I felt strong and amazed at what my body is capable of. Beneath the lacquer of sweat, I watched my muscles in action.

And wonder of wonders, I never once criticized the image in the mirror.

And that is reason enough to return.