Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A reporter's first attempt at yoga

Remembering to breathe properly, reporter Philip Morgan does a kneeling lunge during a session led by Marisa Santino at Fowler White Boggs law firm.


Remembering to breathe properly, reporter Philip Morgan does a kneeling lunge during a session led by Marisa Santino at Fowler White Boggs law firm.

I'm a tense guy, a world-class worrier, and I fear I'll be this way until the day I become past-tense.

Related News/Archive

Could yoga be the answer?

At 63, I've decided to find out. I'm trying the ancient discipline for the first time, and so far my search for inner peace has left me soaked in sweat. I'm having trouble keeping up with the yoga workout at the Fowler White Boggs law firm downtown, where 15 to 30 lawyers and other staffers gather at noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays to stretch, re-energize and eliminate stress.

It starts serenely enough, with soft light, New Age music and uplifting words read by instructor Marisa Santino.

"Whatever you choose to do today, be great at it. Be great in your own, personally meaningful, worthwhile, fulfilling way,'' she says.

We're all sitting in the prayer position, legs folded, hands pressed together in front of us.

Then she starts the workout, demonstrating basic yoga poses that look like a breeze — until I try them.

In the "chair'' pose, for example, it's simply a matter of bending my knees, keeping them together, and holding my hands directly above my head. But after a few moments of that, my thigh muscles burn like fire.

In another position, we bend our legs, press torso to our thighs, reach our arms behind our legs and touch each hand to the opposite elbow.

"Whatever weight or stress you had on your back today, just let it roll right off,'' says Santino.

But what about the stress on the hamstrings?

In the effort to be great in my own, personally meaningful way at the "runner's lunge''— one knee bent at a 90-degree angle and the other leg stretched far behind — I teeter like a drunk. Any minute I could tumble over sideways.

Often, Santino reminds us to breathe properly, taking in slow deep breaths through the nose and releasing them. I'm straining too much to breathe gracefully; I'll have to try that another time.

Finally, we come to an exercise I'm great at — lying still. We all move into the "corpse'' pose, stretched out on our backs. It's reminiscent of nap time in kindergarten.

There, amid the muted light and lulling music, Santino quietly tells us to imagine a wave of relaxation washing over us, from foot to head. I begin to drift — and have to apply the brakes. Snoring, I'm sure, isn't part of the workout.

Despite all the awkwardness, in the end, I feel a slight yoga afterglow. A sense of calm envelopes me for close to an hour.

I leave the session believing that with more work, enhanced grace and less panting, I may become a much more placid worrier. Someday.

A reporter's first attempt at yoga 10/22/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 21, 2011 3:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa


    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.