Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Relax, Breathe and feel Romantic?

My husband and I came to the realization this last summer that we need to make more time for us to plan and do more things as a couple. Like most families, we love doing things together but find it hard sometimes to make time for us beyond the occasional dinner or movie out. We decided much later in life then most to start a family, so consequently we had years of doing things as couple. Then, once our son came along, our lives took on a new rhythm and we love making it all about the three of us.  As time went on, and our son became more independent, we started to have random nights out to grab a dinner or movie or both sometimes. This was great, but in the last year or so we have been drifting into a pattern that many couples fall into whereby even going to a movie or dinner starts to seem like routine. So the time had come to shift our perspective, take an entire day and add some new things to the old routine.

So, we arranged a sitter and took off to have a day for us. But like most plans, life does not always plan for us the way we do for it, so the day started with me having a sinus headache! A cold front was moving in from the north and this typically will wreak havoc with my sensitive sinuses. I decided to press on and think positive, but it did impact the first few hours as I felt distracted by the pain. We did manage to get in some Santa shopping and a quick bite before our "main dish" of the day together took place.

We had made plans to attend a restorative, two hour yoga class. This class was packed to capacity, as a matter of fact, I had waited a tad long and noticed the class was filled when I went to sign us up online. Holidays are stressful for so many and I think  this class could not have come at a better time of year. I quickly emailed the instructor and she was able to add us, much to our delight!

Restorative yoga, for those that do not know, is a form of yoga established by B K S Iyengar years a go for people to gain the benefits of yoga without all the strain of holding positions. He added the use of props to deepen  poses that are often held for ten to 15 minutes at a time. These props help to support the body allowing for fuller response to the different body positions. We used bolsters, blankets, and pillows to achieve a much deeper form of relaxation then a typical yoga classes can produce. The effect was amazing.

My headache completely disappeared as my breathing and attention were shifted. Some poses made the pressure feel more intense so the instructor had me back off and we adjusted things so that I truly was able to let go. It was incredible! And my husband, who is a multi-tasking, sales executive bar none, found it to be just what was needed to calm the nervous system and let go of all his end of quarter, end of year tension. Both of us learned a lot and plan on incorporating the techniques learned into our life. 

After that, we took off for our next appointment, a couples massage. We arrived just in time as class had run a tad long, so we quickly changed into our thick terry robes and sandals and headed into our treatment room. It was once again, just what the doctor ordered! Our muscles were kneaded and rolled until our hour was quickly up and we both felt the full effects of this process. Massage is so good at releasing both tension and toxins long stored in muscles. It truly allows for the body to let go and heal in ways that can calm and relax.

Now for the interesting part, we were then told that the last hour of our treatment consisted of a steam shower, sugar scrub and mud treatment that we would apply ourselves from the neck down rinsing after each treatment in the multi-headed shower steam area. The room, as to be expected, was indeed HOT and the steam was flowing. Now, in case you do not know, while I am a sunshine lover, I am not a high heat lover. Oh don't get me wrong I love the summer, just at my age of hot flashes and off kilter body temps, this does not mix well with extremes of temperature, be it hot or cold. But once again in  the spirit of togetherness, I went along for the ride so to speak.

It was not until we had slathered the mud all over our bodies and were sitting on the tile bench, that yes, I have to admit thinking to myself "I do hope this seat is sanitary and how many other butts have sat upon it today?" It was at that moment of thought,  my husband looked at me and said "is this supposed to be romantic?" We both started to laugh so hard! I admitted the heat was a bit more then I could take. He tried to find the tiny switch that was hidden behind our robes to turn it off but with no success since the steam was making it almost impossible to see! We put the shower on a very cool setting, rinsed off and made our way over to our robes so we could dress in the locker rooms. We started to laugh yet again when we saw my robe was completely covered in muddy hand prints, that would lead one to believe there was far more going on in our shower room then two middle aged people having a steam!

It was fun! And we did enjoy ourselves. It was different, unexpected and both us realized just how much a day like this meant to us not only as a couple, but as a mom and dad. It was not a typical pattern for us and we made it all work somehow. Headaches and tension were relieved. We both were very much in the moment at many times during that day and it could not have been time better spent! Although both of us agreed the steam shower and body treatment was not one we wanted to repeat. Perhaps a sign of our age? Or maybe just the fact that mud, heat, steam, and dripping water are not as relaxing and romantic as one would think? OK, maybe at 30 it might have been different, I will concede this, although we both liked how soft our skin felt afterward.  ;  )

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