Summer break

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Favorite yoga pose photo by Matthew Ragan on Creative Commons

 

July was a special month for me this summer: I stayed at home and rested! No trips, no commitments, no appointments other than purely social. It was a respite from a busy schedule for which I had to buy an oversize calendar to keep track.

The year of busy-ness culminated in a stretch of travel in June. First, hubby Jon Montgomery and I drove to Navasota, TX, for my graduation ceremony as a spiritual director (Formation in Direction). From there we drove to The Woodlands where I delivered the sermon for the 40th anniversary of Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church. Then we went to Shreveport (my home town) for a gathering of family and friends from far and wide to celebrate my cousin David Trichel’s life, share stories, and marvel at how quickly the younger cousins are growing up.

My sister Madeleine, who had flown in from Columbus, Ohio, went with me to visit our former choir director (and her organ teacher) and his wife, Bill and Lucille Teague. They are worth their own blog post!

Madeleine rode back to Austin with Jon and me and stayed for 5 days of museum visits, coffee with friends, and general hanging out. That Sunday she flew home to Columbus and I flew to Kansas City for Ministry Days. Jon drove to pick me up and we enjoyed a rambling road trip back to Austin.

So in July I didn’t want to do anything but catch up on sleep, read for pleasure, and visit worship services all over town, from St. James Episcopal to the Austin Zen Center. And I started working out a little more often. With a more relaxed schedule I’ve had time to use stretchy bands at home, do yoga, or even go to the Y! My neighborhood is great for morning walks because there are hills to turn a walk into a cardio workout. I never took up running, but my knees tell me that’s okay–just stick with walking. Walks don’t do much for my arms, though.

At the Y, I have especially enjoyed yoga with Jogi Baghat. Unfortunately for me, he’ll be in India for a couple of months, welcoming groups and showing them around his home country. Someday I’d like to join one of those groups.

As for biceps and triceps and general upper body strength, I have preferred to use individual machines–like stationary rowing for a full body warmup, then arm presses, pulls, and pull-downs (those are technical terms, of course!). Last week I ventured into the pool for an Aqua Cardio class and it was great! Cool water is a bonus in the heat of summer; water resistance makes every move strengthen muscles, elevate my heart rate, and engage my core. Those muscles appreciate a few minutes in the hot tub after class. Afterward, I feel both tired and invigorated for the rest of the day.

At the beginning of my second class, our instructor Ali announced her exciting news that she is retiring from the Y on the 16th–and there was a great chorus of dismay from the class. We will miss her! We’ll have a sub for the rest of August, and the hiring process has begun for a long-term replacement. It will be interesting to get accustomed to a new instructor even after just 6 hours with Ali, who has been very welcoming and supportive of newcomers as well as seasoned class members. Ali hinted that she might join us in the water from time to time, just not leading the workout.

Town Lake Y has a variety of water aerobics classes every day with various instructors, one of which will match my skill level and instruction style. Water feels really good to me after years of land-based activities.

What have you been doing this summer?

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