Fitness Quest: The Reward is Priceless

08 March 2015   Katie Cornelius
There are difficult spots along every journey.

My difficult spot was lying on a mat, face down, unable to move another inch. Tuesday night at Core Fusion at Fusion of Movement had about done me in; my muscles simply would not respond to my brain's instructions. Driving home, I had been worried. What if I couldn't keep up?

In picking my classes, owner Ben Naasz had wanted to give me a taste of everything they had to offer; unbeknownst to me, the first two classes I took (Suspension Training and Core Fusion) were among the toughest they offered. It was merely by calendar coincidence that my week worked out that way; the later half of the week would be different in many ways than the first. The one thing that stayed the same was the warmth of the people and the instructors, encouraging me in every step. My fellow students assured me that I could make it through each class, and smiled at me as they, too, collapsed on their mats. The Fusion of Movement family is the biggest draw for me - without the encouragement of my fellow students, I would have doubted my ability to continue.

Enter the wonderful world of yoga.

Candlelight yoga, taught by Katy Kolaska, is the traditional form of yoga most people think of. I found it mesmerizing, helpful and healing. The stretches eased the soreness out of my arms and core, the time of reflection helped me put aside some negative thoughts that had been holding me back. Held in a darkened studio lit by only a few tealights, the enveloping calm that permeated the class was palatable. My earlier fears of being unable to continue were banished as I learned the new positions, and delighted that every move was a suggestion we could choose to follow. I left the studio refreshed and ready for the challenges of the rest of the week, even though I had concerns about them both.

I now know to never watch a video on the internet about what a type of exercise might be like. I had looked up Buti yoga online Tuesday night, and the high paced exercise I saw scared me. I knew I couldn't do it (or so I thought.) This fear of what I *thought* something to be seems to be indicative of what many others fear from a formal exercise program. Let me tell you this: no one, and no video, can tell YOU how YOU will feel about an exercise. I had so many people tell me I would "love" certain forms of exercise in the past few weeks. The only new "love" I have found is traditional yoga. While I discovered I truly enjoyed Buti yoga, and look forward to exploring that discipline more, only I knew what was right for me - and only then if I experienced it. I am a former sales trainer, and over twelve years I repeatedly told people to try something three times before you decided something wasn't for you. Buti may end up being my thing - but I need to give it a few more whirls, pumps and jams. Buti is yoga that adds a faster music and a hipper pace, plus a few dance and pound moves. While there were a few elements I could not achieve (planks will give me trouble for awhile yet, of that I am certain, as well as pushups), most of it I could. As the dance element was not primary, only secondary to more traditional yoga moves, I was very comfortable despite not being able to keep up. Add to that the fact I knew many of the people in the room, and the environment had changed in my favor simply because I felt accepted.

Owner Sasha Naasz taught the Buti yoga and the Zumba/Weights/Core training I took Saturday morning. It is important to note that Fusion of Movement offers both morning and evening classes; I encourage you to figure out when your body wants to exercise and listen to it! I now know mornings is my best exercise time - I am thankful for the variety offered so that one can tailor their exercise schedule to their home and work routine. Turns out I was wise NOT to google a Zumba video before class. While highly dance oriented, it was not overwhelmingly hard to follow. Again, being in a room of twenty helps - not everyone is a former professional dancer like Sasha, and no one noticed my sorry attempts as they were all focused on their own. I can see the high appeal if you have an ounce of rhythm in you (which I do not) but even my gangling limbs managed a fair performance. After a half hour that found me still smiling, we switched to weight training with two small dumbbells (they provide you with an assortment to choose from). We did a series of leg and then arm lifting, followed by a final five minutes of nothing but pushups. Up until this point, I could only dip my nose a fraction of an inch towards the mat in any type of pushup; one week ago I had to lean again a wall as even on my knees I was too weak. Today, on my knees, I managed one perfect pushup in the final class. To say I was thrilled is an understatement.

In this journey towards a fit life, I had become focused quickly on what I could not do. I could not hike without breathlessness. I could not do a push up, or a sit up. I could not do anything concerning my weak obliques, and the only emotions I was feeling was frustration and helplessness. This week, by pushing through my tough day, I found exercises better suited to me and my temperament. The Fusion of Movement family made that possible. From the instructors to the students, I never felt alone or out of place in a class, regardless of my ability to match the instructors performance. The focus was on doing what you could do, and doing that - not on what you couldn't yet achieve. In my classes there were men and women of all shapes and sizes at every level of fitness. Not once did I feel out of place, and repeatedly I heard around me, "we can do this - we'll get better." Sasha reminded me that "We have so many fitness offerings because fitness should be fun and variety is the spice of life. Our classes never get dull and our instructors keep evolving to make each workout challenging, fun and effective."

"Not to sound cliche," Naasz continued, "but the reward is priceless. To be able to do what we love most WITH the ones I love most, to have a positive impact on a community, gain an incredible amount of friends we call Fusion family, raise our children in this fun-loving environment...we truly feel blessed." I was blessed to be a part of that Fusion family for a week, and I encourage anyone looking for a supportive environment with literally something for everyone to check out Fusion of Movement. Next week, The Hike Shack is shaking up my workouts by suggesting five local trails I need to explore. Fitness can be found outside of a gym; let's explore the options together.