Real talk: I hate working out. I’ve tried running and failed. I’ve tried going to gym and it failed eventually. I’ve tried riding a bike and that was a disaster I don’t want to talk about. I’ve been to a yoga class, but a hot yoga class before distracted me (think warm air, carpeted floor and other people’s sweat). I’ve tried walking during my lunch breaks but I choose to sit at my desk and read most days instead. I am just not motivated. Never really been the type, really. I was born to be sedentary. (That’s what I tell myself at least.)
When I was kid I loved riding my bike around the neighborhood and we’d get up to something like 17 miles a day. And roller skating — my god do I love roller skating. But I don’t want to be that weird old lady that circling the kiddies on a Sunday afternoon to bad pop music. But I set a goal for myself two years ago: To find a type of exercise I could fall in love with. And then I promptly forgot about it, because how silly is does that sound? (Re: sedentary lifestyle)
But I did start thinking about it a few months ago. And I hunted down my yoga mat that was somewhere in the house. I found it and leaned it up against the TV stand in our bedroom. Where it stayed for three months. A purple prop that I saw everyday and did nothing with. I am so lame. Anyway, Mike’s been talking about taking better care of ourselves, making dinner more often, eating smarter, and then he threw out the most profane word in the English language: workout. Blerg.
After a couple of weeks of home-cooked meals, and some intermittent fasting in the mornings to help with stomach bloating (because stomach issues are still a thing in my world), I started to feel good. I got the whim one day at lunch, surfing the web while stuffing my face, to research some yoga videos that would be good for beginners, specifically just before bedtime, that I could do at home, by myself. And that night I took the plunge.
You guys. I woke a beast.
That first night, I started with a 20-minute bedtime yoga routine – I loved it so much that I immediately followed it with a “complete beginners” video. All that stretching was just wonderful. And easy. I didn’t feel overwhelmed. Hell, it didn’t even feel like a workout. So I woke up the next morning and did a quick 5-minute morning yoga video by the same gal, Yoga with Adriene, and bopped my not-so-little ass down the hall afterward to get ready for work.
If you know me — specifically: if you work with me — you know that I do NOT function well in the morning. I show up, early even, but my brain doesn’t really start buzzing until 9:30a. Well, not on this day. I felt like a little bunny hopping my way into the sun-shining day.
I liked these little YouTube videos I found and I keep going back through the archives to see what I can add to my playlist. And luck would have it that my good friend Hailey kicked off her Yoga Basics just a few days after I started; not gonna lie, I need a little more confidence before I deep dive into Hailey’s videos, but the materials she sent me have been referenced several times already. (Pose library, anyone?) I will get there eventually. But doing this on my own time, in my own terms, and most importantly ALONE, has been enjoyable. And I’ve learned stuff too. Even with just a week under my belt. True story.
I like yoga. You figured that out already, but it really is about focus: on your breath, on your body and on what feels right. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I have the tools to help me learn more, but I really liked learning that it’s not about the “perfect pose” – it’s really more about self-expression. Stretching your body, finding balance internally, they say that lightness meets strength… and I’m not quite there yet (I still quiver a bit), but I get it. And I like it.
I’ve slept great. Like REALLY GREAT. Every night that I’ve done yoga, I’ve let myself stay in the corpse pose for several minutes to let my body rest and when I finally get up, I feel different. My muscles are loose. My spine feels straight and tall. My mind feels a little fuzzy around the edges, but free of the baggage I usually carry around with me. I’m completely relaxed in a way I’ve never been relaxed. OK, LIE: when I leave the masseuse I feel pretty awesome. But this feeling is so very similar to that, but without another pair of hands and $80 out of my bank account.
I feel stronger… and taller… even leaner. I mean, I’m not leaner, let’s get that clear. Never is a “week of anything” going to make that happen besides liposuction, but hear me out. After about day three of “easy stretching” my muscles started singing. Just a little tune, soft and happy. And a couple more days… they started singing louder. Just by engaging my core, holding myself up into table pose, stretching out my legs in a million different ways has so many muscles I’ve been neglecting working. And with this small amount of activity, I can already feel the difference. I sit up taller, I stand up straighter, I keep “aligning my head over my heart.” It’s weird, but there’s a difference.
I can totally clear my mind. I was just talking about this with a coworker, how it’s so hard to stop thinking about life, but I’d say about 5 days into yoga practice I was able to shut my mind off. Just like anything else, your brain needs practice too. And a few days in I found myself focusing on my breathing more, really trying to inhale and exhale when it mattered, listening to the instructor versus watching the screen. And I gotta admit this was such a cool experience. I feel like a dork for saying that but it’s true.
Taking time for myself is important. And I would tell you that taking time to watch my favorite TV shows counted. But… I don’t think it does any more. Or at least not in the same way. With a little more energy and a plan to visit my mat every evening, I’ve made time to de-clutter my personal spaces and I actually did a couple of facial masks in the last week too. I don’t know who the hell I am, but I feel freaking great. I think I might even smell a lavender salt bath in my future.
I can’t stop thinking about yoga. Dude. It’s like a freaking new relationship or something. I honestly cannot wait to roll out my mat tonight and stretch my un-stretchy body, hear my muscles sing (because they will), and breathe like a boss so that everything else slips away and all that is left is my body and the ground below it. I feel like this is how super unhealthy obsessions are started… but this one is OK, right?
My plan is to keep going at my own pace. Try to do 5-minutes in the morning to shake off the sleep and more later in the day to help me get stronger. I know it’s going to get harder, it’s going to feel more like a workout (such a naughty word), but I hope to keep this going. I have a goal in mind of 30 days of practice in a row. It may not be perfect, but I’m hoping that after 30 days I’ll be completely hooked. And considering how I’m feeling right now, I’m pretty sure I have this in the bag.
Who’d figure that it would take two years to convince myself of something and then only seven days to fall head over heels for it. Life is weird, man.