Sunday, December 9, 2012

ThinkKit D9 - How do I unwind? Can it really be beer and Yoga?

Today, we reflect on what we do to unwind.  Often it's Reddit or comic books that bring some calm.  I get my comics delivered to the house and Reddit is an amazingly entertaining time sink on the Internet. So it's probably due to convenience more than anything else. But after some reflection, it really could be beer and yoga that bring the calm when I needed it in 2012.

The Beer I Drink Gets Me On My Feet
So, I'm playing my "homer" card on day nine.  I'm kind of surprised I made it this long.  In case you didn't know, I love my neighborhood. I also happen to love craft beer.  I am less than two blocks from the Upland Tap Room and the Sinking Ship. Whether it's walking to get a growler filled, or meeting people for great conversation at the Sinking Ship or the Tap Room, I'm a short walk to good drink.  What's a nice twist is that I'm walking to and fro.  For those who only know more densely populated cities, this is something you take for granted. Urban walkability is a luxury not all neighborhoods get to appreciate.   

A short walk after work to get a growler filled is a simple act, but it's an effective way for me to stay calm.  A brisk walk with some fresh air, coupled with some quality beer in a nice social setting helps me unwind.  I can also include the standing only Friday happy hour tastings at Sun King.  After a long week, I can stop in and taste a few beers while chatting it up, and be home in time for dinner.  Their Friday $5 growler re-fill is pretty relaxing on the wallet too.  

Yoga is the real deal.  I'm not trying to be pretentious.  I feel I'm pretty down to earth.  But I couldn't touch my toes from high school until my mid-twenties.  I was pretty athletic too.  I was just so tight through my hamstrings and back. Soon after entering the real world, which for me apparently meant life in a cube, this tightness transformed into varying degrees of uncomfortableness and pain.  Come to find out, sitting kills you.   I began to hurt.  While in my mind-twenties, my wife started taking an entry level class on a whim.  I followed soon after.  I initially set a goal for myself that I wanted to first be able to touch my toes while standing and eventually do a free standing head stand.  Today, I can do both.  There's most definitely a physiological effect after an hour of slow, deliberate, full body stretching.  It's a pretty great feeling, whether it be in the evening or during my lunch break in a quiet part of the gym at work.

You walk in to yoga thinking it's about the various postures. And for most of us, because of the shape we're in, it has to be.  But once you get your body back into some nimble shape, your focus takes a subtle but seismic shift.  You start thinking and focusing on your breath.  Breathing, as it turns out, is a key to calmness.  I really believe it because I experience it.  It's direct observation in its truest form. It is vital to keep my body in a state of calm and yoga helps me get there.  

So, that's it.  Call it middle class, cosmopolitan zen.  Call it whatever, but I feel a balanced approach is the way to go.  Neighborhood beer and yoga are what work for me. 

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