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NTKOG #114: The kind of health-obsessed model citizen who, when she wakes up half-dead from ingesting various toxins, immediately jumps out of bed to sweat. them. out.

I am: a Proustian aunt when it comes to hangovers. Just give me a nice bed and I’ll take it to it indefinitely, praying for death to come.

I am not: even amused by the idea that there exist people who prefer the gym to boozin’.

The Scene: Bleary-eyed in Brighton, the morning of February 15, reeking of chocolate fondue and sweating straight Merlot. I didn’t think I drank that much during Anglophile’s and my little V-Day voodoo sesh, but all the mental holes in our morning-after recap disproved that theory. (“How’d I get into my pajamas?” “You changed after you made us listen to Usher’s ‘Burn’ fifteen times.” “I hate that song. Oh jesus, tell me you didn’t let me text.”) After Anglophile scooted on her merry way, I was prepared to take to bed, spreading peanut butter on homemade bread with my fingers and mainlining equal parts water and Hugh Laurie. Instead, I remembered a killer blog entry by the lovely kk about how to kick hangovers in which she suggests hitting the gym after you hit the bottle. What did I have to lose?

After I’d arranged a gym date with Sister and actually exited the apartment, the list of things I had to lose became apparent: permanent use of my retinas; my balance; control of the nausea dragon wrapping its tail around my stomach. Ugh. And that was just from walking to the T station.

By the time I got to the gym, I’d have placed even odds on my vomiting on the elliptical. Set the timer for 30 minutes; for the first five, I cursed the gods; for the next five, cursed myself; the middle ten, cursed friggin’ kk, that ho; and then — everything stopped being so bad. Remains of the Day was on TV! Brookline water tastes awesome! I am alive and healthy and feeling moreso every minute! Hell, after the elliptical, I jumped on a treadmill next to Sister for the sheer fun of it for twenty minutes.

The whole walk to my Sister’s place afterwards, I sipped water and cooed over the success of the project (“I feel great! I feel awesome! Wanna go to the zoo and race some llamas?!”). For dinner, we made healthy choices instead of indulging in usual hangover atrocities (brie and roasted garlic sandwiches, anyone?). And then the foundation started to crack. Got a splitting headache and the only medication my sister had on hand was Tylenol PM. Popped two of them and started home. Unfortunately, the drowsy effects of the medication kicked in while I was still half a mile from home, my heart slowed down to 45 beats per month, and I literally stopped three or four times to consider taking a nap on someone else’s stoop.

By the time I returned from this miracle hangover cure, I was fit only to take to my bed, cursing the gods. It’s just the natural order, I guess.

The Verdict: There’s no denying that this felt significantly less pathetic than my usual program of eating junk food and lolling around miserably, but exercise is most definitely not a panacea. I mistook the endorphin high for significant improvement. Right the frig not! Turns out exercise is only meant to be supplemental to a strict regime of lolling, napping, and misery.

Also, a TMI word about dehydration? Apparently I’d severely underestimated either the sheer degree of dehydration inherent to a hangover or the prolificness of my sweating, but I realized about eight hours after the gym that I’d drank 70 oz. of water and hadn’t needed to pee. Thank you, body, for delighting and horrifying me.

TMI Thursday! Lilu! Archives! Lovely!! Lady took a polar bear plunge with some Hulk Hogan impersonators. Good frig! Hero of the day.Alzyby  

And for more NTKOG brilliance, do read this hilarious post

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If you haven’t entered my giveaway for an iPod Nano, do so by noon EST or forever hold your peace! Winner announced tomorrow! 

NTKOG #110: The kind of relaxed, centered guru who recharges after a long day with a stretch of yoga. 

I am: a Brain, not a Body. If I could exist as a floating sentient consciousness in a jar of formaldehyde, I totally would. Plus: wouldn’t have to shower anymore! 

I am not: good at listening to my body’s needs. Stretching? Destressing? Logging gym time? You’re not speaking my language. 

The Scene: Healthworks Cambridge, a palatial all-women’s gym that looks like propaganda for a Brave New World hippie commune. I took advantage of a great Groupon deal for 24 day passes, including access to all classes, and Anglophile and I were psyched to try something out of the ordinary on our inaugural visit. Unfortunately, the incompetence of the MBTA got me there too late for our first choice — beginner mat pilates — so we waited around for the 8pm Restorative Yoga. 

When we filed in, flanked by lots of 20somethings and some very fit older ladies, I got psyched for a physically challenging experience. Stretching ’til my muscles gooified, exotic poses; afterwards, flopping sweatily to the mat and hyperventilating for a spell. Serious dang exertion! 

This lasted for the three minutes it took to get inside and grab a mat, then — why’s it so dark in here? Are they handing out blankets?! Half the regulars around me lay on their backs, covered with blankets, rolled washcloths covering their eyes. Um, nap-time anyone? 

The instructor started in dulcet tones to talk about our consciousnesses and awareness and — oh god, who even knows. Her voice was dripping morphine. She told us there would be two options for every pose: one for those who were high energy, and one for those who were low energy. If you’re feeling high energy, she sweetly droned, wrap yourself complete around your bolster, crossing your ankles, hook your left elbow under your right ear and roll onto your right shoulder (or similar masochistic Twister). If you’re feeling low-energy, lay on your back. 

Don’t think I need to tell you which one I chose. 

Lay there for ten minutes, breathing deeply. Kind of soothing! Long pose, though. Surely any moment she would — “Let’s raise our awareness to our minds for a moment. If you are feeling anxious, lengthen your exhale. Or don’t, if you don’t want to. Whatever makes you comfortable.” — and ten more minutes of the Napping Toddler pose. 

“Okay, if you’d like your body to make another shape, slowly do that. If you’re in the high-energy position [step-by-step instructions for folding body into origami crane].” And if you’re in the low-energy position…? You apparently stay on your back for fifteen more minutes. I tried to let the calm atmosphere soothe my mind and, per the advice of my instructor, “listen to my body.” 

I’ve got news for you, guys. I tried listening to my body. That dude doesn’t have shit to say. I mean, my brain is a fine specimen: distrusted by men, admired by women — when my brain walks into my bar, everyone calls out its name, Cheers-style. My body is just a piece of furniture it owns. Like a TMNT Krang situation: 

Heroes in a half-shell, turtle style!

I'd like to think I'm just a teensy bit better looking than Krang's physical casing. That said, I'd totally love to score a pair of those sweet-ass metal epaulets.

 

Cross-section of my mind, thirty-five minutes into the Suicidal Turtle pose: Okay, dude, focus on how soothing this is. It’s like a bubble bath for your soul. Jesus, remember that episode of Full House where Michelle puts her fish in the bubble bath and it dies? I don’t want to die. I chose the wrong path. Maybe I should have gone to Dartmouth after all. 

Just then, a radiant patchouli-scented goddess hovered over me. “Is your body soothed?” she whispered. “Uh, yeah, I’m cool,” I coughed as quietly as possible. She smiled a moment then hummed like a beautiful machine and her hands flew above me. In the space of a moment, she had taken off my glasses, refolded the wadded towel covering my eyes, stretched my legs, put a blanket under my bank, and fixed my hair. I wondered if I took her home, whether she’d brush my teeth for me. 

“Doesn’t it bring you peace?” she breathed. Yeah. Yeah, I could kind of imagine how it would. If the rest of Yoga Nap Class was barely conscious, at least it was spent in a pleasant dream. Until immediately after the session, when Anglophile and I caught eyes for the first time then had to bite our cheeks ’til they bled to keep from laughing. ’cause I mean, dude, hippies. 

The Verdict: Okay, obviously this class — ideal for pregnant women, recently injured people, and the elderly, as noted on the course description — wasn’t for me. I nap just fine on my own. That said, I did enjoy the calm in the room and the almost farcically constant affirmations by the instructor. Want to lay on your back for a full hour, as almost half the class did? That’s okay. Want to roll on your belly and stare up at the ceiling? Okay! Want to piddle all over the floor like a puppy? We love you the way you are! Namaste! 

It’s nice to be allowed to feel good about yourself every once in a while, just as, y’know, a special treat. I foresee some more yoga in my future — but preferably of a slightly more physically punishing nature.

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