As well as paid work, free housing, and free food, I really, really like that McMurdo has so many free fitness and yoga classes.
Besides dancing and hula-hooping like a maniac in the big gym during the Halloween party, a few jogs on the treadmill in the smaller “gerbil gym,” and some hikes around the station, the only fitness activity I’ve engaged in is yoga.
There are regular fitness classes every week, with names like “The Shaun T. Beachbody Workout” and “Extreme Abs with Ellie.” I haven’t attended any of those yet, although I could definitely stand to get some extreme abs between my office job, lack of regular salads, and 24/7 access to pizza.
I have gone to a few yoga classes with two instructors, Deany and Joolee, and every time I leave I think I should go more. I went to yoga classes almost every day for about six months in 2016, but warmer weather drove me out of the yoga studio and onto my bike, my preferred form of transport and exercise. I never returned.
But now that I have access to yoga that’s 1) free and 2) a two-minute walk from my dorm, I am inclined to take up yoga again. The weather is finally getting warm enough that a hike on one of the Ross Island trails no longer feels like a battle for survival, but as well as being a nice, low-key exercise, yoga helps calm my brain on days when I feel off my game due to lack of sleep, trying to do all the things at once (the FOMO isn’t completely gone), or the looming question of “What the hell am I going to do with myself after Antarctica?”
And that is a question I have a lot lately.