Learning to Love Yoga
I’ve never been a very stretchy person. That’s why I’m finding it a bit absurd that my new morning routine typically includes 30 minutes of yoga…..and I actually look forward to it! I strongly believe that you need to love whatever you do for movement in your life, or you won’t prioritize it so that it becomes a part of your day that you aren’t willing to sacrifice. That’s why when I veer away from what I know I love (fitness videos with good music or challenging choreography) in attempt to add variety to my fitness routine, I generally give it a 30 day solid try before I decide if this new activity is going to stick.
I’ve tried yoga before. Not as the sole element of my fitness routine, but more as a supplemental workout to change things up. A stretching class here or there was all I’d commit to in the past. But nearing the end of 2015, a change in my routine was triggered by a feeling of boredom with my regular routine. I found myself surfing Facebook when I got home from walking the dog instead of grabbing my glass of water and popping in that DVD. I knew more DVD’s was not the answer. I have enough DVD’s to do a different workout every day for several months, I suspect. No, this time I was feeling the need to make a drastic change. At that point in time I was also attempting to make meditation a part of my morning routine and I was beginning to realize that a quiet, slow down element in my morning routine was becoming something I looked forward to. Yoga fit nicely into this newfound desire for a slow quiet start to my day, so I set out to find the perfect program.
Typically, I don’t hesitate to spend some cash on a new fitness routine because I know myself well enough to know that I’m going to stick to the program at least one time through before I decide if it’s something that I’d ever want to work through again. This time though I turned to Google, where I’m finding I somewhat dangerously turn, all too often these days, for the answers to any question I’m having. Googling for a yoga program to try was intended to give me some ideas and websites to check out so that I could clarify exactly what I was looking for.
What I found was gold! A yoga instructor who truly believes that if more people practiced yoga, our world would be a better place! With this philosophy in mind, she provides free yoga classes on You Tube! As a savvy consumer, of course I hesitate when I see the word free because it immediately made me question the quality of the workout. I’m not sure why my mind still goes there. I mean, I’ve opted in for many free online products/courses etc. – taking the chance that they’ll hold the answers I’m looking for. After all, they are free so what would I have to lose? I reminded myself that I’ve had a lot of great success with the freebies I’ve opted in-to, and so subscribed to the channel (Fightmaster Yoga if any of you are interested in checking it out) and began trying the workouts.
These free videos allowed me to explore this new addition to my morning routine. At first I just started working through the oldest videos, planning to work my way to the newest. Since Lesley Fightmaster typically just posts one new video a week, but had been doing it for a while before I found her channel – I’d have plenty of yoga to help me determine if I could get into it as a regular part of my routine. And then I came across her 90 day challenge and I thought…… What the heck! And I started working my way through that program.
Honestly, it took me almost 130 days to complete that 90 day challenge since fitness is truly only embedded in my weekday morning routine. I suspect as my kids grow older and I become less involved in their activities, I may opt to add fitness back in on the weekends beyond taking my dog for a walk as I’ll be finding myself with a little more time on my hands! Over those 130 days though, a transformation occurred. I’d love to say it was a visually obvious physical transformation, but alas, I am still wearing the same size jeans. There were other obvious changes though that I became aware of. Here’s what I learned:
- I learned why yogis think of downward facing dog as a resting pose. In the beginning, as a pear shaped individual with my smaller half holding half of my body weight up in this pose, I wondered how in the hell they could consider it resting! Eventually, as I gained strength, I learned to feel really comfortable in that pose (although I must say – child’s pose still remains the ultimate resting pose for me, after Savasana of course!)
- I learned how to move to upward facing dog from plank without dropping to my knees first, a huge feat for someone who has always struggled with push-ups from my toes and triceps push-ups in general!
- I learned that I can sweat all over my mat (like only a Chessell/Rolph combination can) while doing yoga, the supposed gentle workout.
- I learned that my hamstrings can become stretchy enough so that I can touch the floor when bending over to reach for my toes as long as I consistently stretch them.
- I learned that yoga can be a form of meditation, focusing on the breath (although I’m still pretty horrible at this! I’m just trying to get the moves down before I can even think of breathing in and out at the right times).
It has been quite a journey for me. I guess the lesson I learned though is that sometimes a 30 day trial of something new really isn’t enough time to give a fair judgement. Sometimes, a new activity has to really become a part of my way of life before I start to understand all of the benefits and all of the things that I like (or dislike) about it.
This isn’t really a post to get you excited about yoga, although, if you are looking for a peaceful start to your day, certain types of yoga certainly can be a good fit. But rather a post about experimenting with different types of fitness and really giving it an honest effort before you make your judgement. If you find yourself a tad bored with your routine, like I was, and opting for sleeping in or surfing the internet over spending your time allotted for movement on movement….it may be time to change it up! Don’t wait any longer! Our bodies were made to move and I believe we truly are better in every facet of our life when we are moving regularly. So if you’ve recently taken a bit of a fitness hiatus, today’s the day to get back at it, and I’m going to suggest you go an entirely different path than what you’ve just taken a break from. Maybe it was your mind and body’s way of letting you know it was time for a change!