I have a confession to make: I don’t do yoga. And I don’t mean that currently I’m not practicing yoga because I’m focusing on something else, like Pilates. No, I have never, ever done yoga. I did try once, though. Many years ago when I was just out of college and living in Manhattan I was addicted to running. Lucky enough to share an apartment just blocks from the Central Park Reservoir, I jogged the pretty 1.6-mile circumference at least five days a week, sometimes more. It was not an act of supreme willpower; au contraire, it was a simple act of survival. Somehow, the nonstop commotion of city living both energized and exhausted me and I needed the daily run to refresh.
At some point I joined the New York Road Runners club. One day I was rambling around the headquarters, which was then housed in an Upper East Side townhouse, and I saw a sign for a new yoga running class. I don’t remember what enticed me to sign up; perhaps the thought that I could take my running “to the next level.”
The very first class I sat cross-legged on my mat in the second row — and promptly fell asleep. I woke up toward the end of the hour, cold and disoriented, and saw the teacher staring me. The second week I actually got in a few stretches before a deep slumber overtook me. I was out again for the entire session. This time, both the teacher and several other students gawked at me; whether or not I was actually snoring, I’ll never know. This went on for a few more weeks before I finally quit the class after the fifth session. Apparently, there was to be no downward dog for me.
I never tried yoga again. Happily, I’ve experimented with lots of other exercise programs throughout the years, although my favorite workouts du jour are hiking in the gorgeous Hudson Valley and running — sometimes down by the river, but often on the treadmill at the beautifully renovated All Sport Health & Fitness in Fishkill. America’s fascination with fitness shows no signs of slowing down — and the same is true here in the Hudson Valley. In our cover story, which starts here, we introduce you to some of the hottest new workouts around, as well as trainers who are putting a twist on innovative new ways to get fit.
Of course, you are going to need to find a new workout regimen after you check out our story on local chocolate makers. First, we fill you in on our favorite gourmet hot chocolate spots. Trust me, we’re not talking about the Nestle’s hot cocoa of your youth. No, these chocolatey concoctions are mixed up and served with the likes of butterscotch Schnapps, high-end fudge, and artisanal dark chocolate. There are also chocolate hearts for Valentine’s Day — in colors and flavors that you probably couldn’t have imagined when you first got together.
Don’t think too much about the calories — you can quickly find a new way to start burning them off. Me? I’m going back to yoga this year; you may even find me hanging off a wall. Namaste.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor in Chief