Picture yourself

Years ago, before yoga was all the rage, dance studios in New York City and elsewhere offered classes in high-impact aerobics. This was in the 1980s, the decade I lived in New York, when people wore big sneakers and sweatbands and other now-unthinkably unfashionable garments in which to work out.

I had moved to New York to study dance, but after a few years of learning alongside professionally trained dancers who were Broadway and ballet-company-bound, I realized I would be better off laboring behind a desk as an assistant editor at a magazine. But I was still not the kind of person who liked to exercise at a gym, so I switched my routine from dance to aerobics.

The reason I’m mentioning this is because at the end of every aerobics class, the teacher—a former dancer—would instruct us, the students, to lie down on the floor and close our eyes. As the energy in the room subsided, she would walk over to the tape deck and change the music from whatever driving, pounding, pop/hip-hop/disco tune we’d been hearing, to a soft, relaxing melody of waves lapping on the shore, accompanied by seagulls squawking overhead. As our breathing slowed and became even, the teacher reached over to the light switch and turned out the lights. Darkness.

“Picture yourself on your favorite beach,” she said. “Imagine yourself there.”

I remember few details from the 1980s, but I remember that one. On days like today, when I have too much to do and not enough time to do it, I’ll take a  moment to picture myself on my favorite beach, and imagine myself there.


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4 Responses to “Picture yourself”

  1. Dilyara says:

    OMG! That is exactly what I do, too! A couple of years ago we were camping on Bolinas Beach with a bunch of kids and I still remember the feeling of peace there (yes, despite having all those kids around).
    I remember it so vividly – the tireless surf, the Milky Way above, the eternal quality f it all – that I can imagine it when I need that peace.

    Isn’t awesome that at any given time there are people at the computers envisioning being at the beach :) LOL!

  2. Dilyara says:

    Oh, while I am at it – you do have a dancer body. I was thinking to ask you yesterday whether you dance. Must be genetic :)

  3. Jessica says:

    So glad you can relate, Dilyara. Thank goodness for good memories and active imaginations, huh? (Take me there, please!)

  4. Jessica says:

    Oh, Dilyara, you just made my day! Used to dance. Anymore? Not so much. Still love to, though.

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