August 29, 2008

Moments in Yoga and "Real Life"

[Special Guest Post by Little M]

Note: this is another great inspirational guest post from LittleM, enjoy!--Crabby

In principle, and when I’m in something resembling shape (Hey! Trapezoid is a shape), I love extreme yoga.

Sometimes it loves me back. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I remember the first time I tried one of Bryan Kest’s DVDs. Like being in class, only more ridiculous. I’m face down, in chaturanga (that’s something like a deformed pushup, for those of you not into the Sanskrit), nose about 5 inches from the mat, dripping from my forehead onto it, and Bryan’s droning authoritatively on about: “This … yoga … has a tendency to expose our weaknesses. So that … we have the opportunity … to make those weaknesses … strengths.”

You can imagine that the blood was rushing in my ears after Sentence One so much that I barely heard Sentence Two. I wavered between nodding – in the miniscule part of my mind that was still conscious – thinking, “Yup! Suuuuure does!” and calling him something unprintable.

(Not his fault that I had no tricep or transverse strength at the time. But I digress.)

Gradually, I got better. I got through the DVD and its variations. I went to workshop. I had focus. I could do crow pose (balance your knees on your triceps, use ab muscles for control – nifty) and wheel pose (push up using the whole back of the body, from triceps to hamstrings - also nifty).

And then life happened. (Again.) And I lost it all.

I know from comments here that so many here are much better at the discipline thing. Of remembering right then – before you do the dishes or finish the report or run across town for the meeting or text someone in your family with just one more thing – how much better you feel when you’ve done your regular fitness thing.

But it gets away from some of us. I mean waaaay the way away, until you start wondering if it’s true what they say about losing a pound of muscle per year after 21 or so, and whether that’s going to affect anything besides your pant size, like blood flow to the brain since the heart is a muscle – and whether that’s – eventually - going to affect your performance review at work.

So I rearranged the schedule yet again – whining the whole time – and paid the membership to a new gym (a 24-hour one this time!). And took my resistance bands. And did my HIIT. And did a different set of yoga DVDs to prep for strength, to see if there was any possible way I could get back to that place where wheel pose, (that bada** combination of flexibility and strength) while never a walk in the park, was a challenge I had the body confidence to meet.

But I was scared. I mean, it had been more than a minute. I didn’t know if I could get it back. I didn’t know if I’d ever get it back.

I also knew – gritting my teeth a bit – that I was never going to find out if I didn’t try.

I felt my strength in my arms. I planted my feet. I breathed in deep (like they always tell you to), looked at the world – upside down – and I thought (aping the guy on my HIIT CDs, who sounds much more convincing when he says it):

“Nothing to it.”

And up I went.

So now I have a whole different question: What am I going to do with that moment – the moment between “yes I really can do this” and actually doing THE THING, when you thought you’d NEVER be able to do The Thing, or never be able to do The Thing AGAIN – once I get off this mat??

What do you do? How do you use it? How do you carry your “moments” from “fitness” back into “real life”?


  1. I too have a tendency of calling my DVD instructors unmentionable names. I thought that was just me though.

    As for your question - I hope to have an answer for you someday. But I have to get to fitness first. Not there yet :D

  2. I am also in that "needing to get back to it" spot. I can relate, however to getting frustrated with the DVD instructors that tell that same boring story every time we work out together. Sometimes I talk to them and say stupid things relating to the stupid stories that they tell.

  3. Please have mercy on me and tell me what HIIT is? I've seen it on like three sites yesterday and today. Thanks!

  4. Alexia, I generally call it High Intensity Interval Training. The other week, Crabby devoted a whole post to Somewhat High Intensity Interval Training, which is a lot more my style :)

  5. I can sympathize with the needing to get back to it. I'm trying to, although my weakness has always been aerobic exercise.

    I had a moment like yours (when I got my leg behind my shoulder....still working on fully straightening my leg in that position), and I kind of bring them back to my real life by reminding myself how great I am when I'm stressed or feeling insecure.

  6. The Bag Lady cringes at the thought of losing a pound of muscle per year after the age of 21.....she's just about to turn into a big puddle of fat, if that is the case!

  7. I need to start taking yoga. It's hard to find time in my schedule, but I'm hoping to take some lunchtime classes.

    I think if I weren't an aerobics instructor, it would be so much easier to just let it slide if things got hectic. But since I rely on the income, it makes me stay pretty steady with my fitness. Bonus!

  8. Brian Kest!!! I used to LOVE him. My sister and I had all his power yoga series. He had the hottest accent. And Michael Bolton hair:)

    Great post! WTG getting your strength back. I think the important thing for me is to remember that fitness is a journey, not a destination. I'm deep, I know.

  9. well, this isn't that exciting but lately, I've been doing a lot of walking while my neck heals. For a long time, I didn't consider walking 'exercise." I have a whole new respect for it now - can keep you in shape, open your eyes to things you normally zoon by, etc. I've taken this lesson and carry it with me so when I encounter new things that I maybe considered a waste of time before (reading a magazine in a doctor's office that wasn't health-related, for instance, or driving while NOT making a call to save time), I remember the walking lesson. Just relax, try something new, and don't always be in such a hurry.

    Happy LD weekend!

  10. Taking Yoga lessons is on my goals list! Hope I can get to it before too long. I can't do yoga without my right hand, which is supposed to have another operation next month.

    My own moment (my only) has just here lately when I've jumped into walking in a S.H.I.I.T. way after getting to be a total slug over the last couple of years (injuries...) I've never been so out of shape as I was. And what I realized is that as I've gotten even minimally stronger and lost 4 lbs.--suddenly my body feels like part of myself. I mean my brain/spirit/mental thing feels more connected to my physical body. I thinking I've been mentally disowning my body gradually over the last two years or so!

  11. I'm not sure that made any sense! ??

    I think I mean that my body got so awfully weak and flabby-fat it didn't feel like "me."


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