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Exercising My Demons at the Gym

By Karen Austin

I used to exercise about three times a week, but over the last six months, I have increased my visits to the gym so that I’m attending on average ten classes a week. I’m getting to know the instructors and the regulars. I often see another short, blonde, middle-aged woman in the classes I attend. …

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Botched Murder Plots, Unwritten Dress Codes, and Morning Yoga

By Sandra Clark

The night of my baptism I went to sleep disappointed I hadn’t been murdered. I figured showing that I was big enough to demonstrate my devotion to God and also the absolution of a life cut off early, unburdening me of the hard work of actually living out my devotion seemed like the best option. …

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My Brother, the G.O.A.T.

By Terresa Wellborn

My brother is a G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time). He has endured all manner of challenges in his life, most recently a divorce, a divided family, and unimaginable heart rending. Still, he perseveres. One example? He regularly climbs tall mountains in a day. Or bikes 100 miles. Or makes the best homemade bread you’ve ever …

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The Unwritten Rules of Group Fitness Classes

By Karen Austin

Photo Credit: Army Medicine via Creative Commons

I’ve spent over a decade attending fitness classes at the local gym, and I am still trying to discern the unwritten rules for who gets to be up front near the instructor.  I’ve spent a little over a year attending kickboxing, yoga, and Zumba classes in my new town.  It seems as though these rules are written in sand and not stone.

The New Kid in Town Rule

When I first moved to Indiana, my understanding was that new people get to stand up front next to the instructor so that other people can get to know them.  I would go up to the instructor before class starts and introduce myself. Then I would just stay there until the other class members fanned out a bit to make room for me.  How very kind of them!

The Worse Dancer Rule

After about three months, the instructor started introducing new routines in these fitness classes.  I am not a naturally gifted with body movement. Consequently, I would place myself up front next to the instructor so that I could see her clearly in the mirror or in my line of sight if we turned away from the mirror.  Most people leave a wide margin around the yoga teacher, so there I can easily set up my yoga mat in this area. This makes sense because it’s important to nurture and support the weakest members of our tribe. We are not animals who push the weak to the periphery to be eaten by predators! Oh, no.

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Born to Run

By Sandra Clark

Starting this summer I’ve been working myself up running regularly. I’ve gone every weekday for a month now, and sporadically for three months now. I’m currently at two miles a day. This is massive for me. As I’ve been improving my stamina, ability, and commitment I’ve circled back to this essay I wrote two years ago. It’s still true, and now I’m believing it more than ever before.

This week I watched my son run his first race. Granted it was only a mile, but he felt official with a timing chip on his shoe and number flapping off his back. He had high hopes of a trophy, which were sadly unfulfilled.  I was so proud of him anyway. It was fun to watch him, and see him so pleased with himself. Watching the lines of his fluid body move, extension of his legs, and hair tousled in the early morning breeze, I couldn’t resist the Bruce Springsteen lyric blasting through my head: “Baby, we were born to run.”

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