I’m a big believer in lifelong learning. The fifth of my Six Simple Rules is, “Be a Lifelong Learner.” I do a ton of reading (books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs), I listen to podcasts, and I attend classes, workshops, and seminars, among other things. I’m also a strong believer in learning from experiences, positive and negative, so as not to reinvent the wheel.

I’ve had a different kind of learning during the past year, with two athletic pursuits.

I’ve been playing tennis on and off since I was a kid and I’ve been doing yoga on and off for over 15 years. So, I didn’t expect to have significant new tennis and yoga experiences this past year.

The tennis experience came first. I love playing tennis with my friend Jeff. The very first time we played together was more than three decades ago, when we were kids. As grown-ups, we’ve been playing regularly for the last 10 years.

Last year, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to join a weekly doubles game. I can almost count on my hands the number of times I had played doubles before that time. I had always resisted doubles because I didn’t see it as the great workout I love getting from singles.

But, I said yes because I liked the idea of trying something different.

Four of us got together almost every week starting last fall, on a weekday morning from 7am-8am.

I was not very good at first. There are strategies and skills specific to doubles and I needed to learn them by playing, watching, and listening to their advice.

The guys I played with were patient with me and I improved as the season went on. By the end, I had improved a great deal.

As a competitive person, it was a bit hard for me to deal with my lack of talent. But, I loved the exercise, the camaraderie, and starting my day by running around on a tennis court.

I hope the guys are interested in playing this coming fall. It was a lot of fun.

The yoga experience began early this year. The studio where I practice has a second studio across the street. I had never been to any of the classes at “Studio 2”. I’m not sure why I never explored them, but one day I decided to sign up for an aerial yoga class (The version at my studio is AntiGravity® Fitness.)

I quickly fell in love with aerial yoga. So much so, that I stopped going to regular yoga classes.

The stretching is fantastic and I feel great after each class.

What I love most is the acrobatic aspects. I have learned to do things I never imagined I would do—hanging and flipping and other gymnastics-like feats.

I find it incredibly fun. The classes are mostly 75 minutes. I rarely look at the clock, but if I happen to notice that 45 minutes have gone by, my immediate thought is, “Too bad. Only 30 minutes left.”

I wonder what new things I’ll try next year? Whatever they are, I’m looking forward to them.

Have you tried something new lately? What was your experience? Please join the conversation with your comments…

Best regards,