The inaugural #ShiftCon social media conference for eco-wellness bloggers would not have been complete without a fitness component. Especially since Mamavation, with its popular fitness challenges, helped build the strength in numbers to create the conference, this seemed like an event calling on attendees to get up earlier, push harder and sweat!
I was excited, after trying a couple of the Mamavation online 2-Week Challenges that involved workouts and runs, to spend some in-person time focused on fitness with other bloggers. I was also hoping for a sense of belonging, no matter my size or shape or level of experience.
I was intimidated by the idea that we’d be spending an hour with The Ultimate Yogi star Travis Eliot. Then, the friendly guy we met before class took time for a picture with Sarah of Mindfully Frugal Mom and me, and that little group hug was just the reassurance I needed. Normal, average, beginner, advanced, plus-sized, thin, come-as-you-are, was all okay. I belonged.
I do have to brag on friends Jenny at Living Consciously (formerly Conscientious Confusion) and Lori at Groovy Green Livin’ for patiently sticking with the rest of us on this beginner level class. I was just praying I could attempt each pose without losing my balance or retracting into child’s pose. Our teacher was focused on giving us all the confidence of getting through this one-time class without correcting everyone’s form this time. Every once in a while — and I know we’re not supposed to compare — Jenny and Lori would be refining their advanced forms so much they barely touched the ground.
While I’m certainly a beginner, this was not the first yoga class I’ve ever attended. But it was the most gentle, yet intense one with a real sense of “flow” that you hear about. I was amazed at how much it made me sweat. By the end of the hour, when the yogi said “namaste” I was thanking Jesus for getting me through it.
Yoga the first morning was the perfect way to feel stretched out for a 5K run the next morning. Arnicare by Boiron sponsored the run, sharing natural pain relief gel just in case we needed it. The morning run was easy, but I was moving pretty slowly. When the small group I was with surged ahead, I insisted on continuing by myself to be sure I would finish the entire course. Then, I foolishly got lost and appreciated friend Penelope of Toxic Baby returning from the finish to help me find the way back.
That 5K or 3+ miles was a tiny increment for me toward my goal of covering 40 miles by November 1 in a personal Strong, not Scared fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Fund. Several runners that morning were remembering blogging friend Micaela of Mindful Momma who wasn’t able to attend because her mother had just passed away from cancer.
What could be better about ShiftCon fitness? Participation seemed to be a tiny percentage of overall attendees. It would be fun to see at least one fitness class being more of a center stage event to get more people involved. The events were also scheduled precariously close to breakfast program time, which felt like a rush (but then getting lost on LA streets like I did will get you off schedule).
What did I learn from the ShiftCon fitness experience?
1) Everybody belongs.
2) Everybody sweats.
3) Everybody looks out for one another.
4) Bloggers, especially those of us who write extensively at our desks, need the balance that a regular fitness routine can bring.
5) LA yoga teachers are stellar, at least ours was!